Eastern Wastes of America [Post-Apocalyptic: OmegaLite20]

System: OmegaLite20
Tools: Gamemaster’s Apprentice Deck; Nine Steps and a Bloody Heart 

Just prior to the start of this scene I asked an Oracle question. “Are there other guests in the hotel?”  Response was Yes + event. Tension level resets to “1” for the next scene. I generated some information about the other guests, but I will let that be revealed through the narrative. I will give details about the event when it occurs.

Scene 1 [Tension Lvl:1]:

Dale led Nate and me up to our room, number 204. Other than the door handles being covered in the same black paint-like coating as the main entrance to the hotel, the room was a normal, dual occupancy room that had been kept in a clean condition similar to the rest of the building. We set our belongings aside and washed off some of the grime of the road in the bathroom. The building still had running water, though the pressure wasn’t great. Ross apparently had the hotel hooked up to a well-system and solar-powered water pump.

About an hour later we returned to the lobby. Rain was steadily coming down outside the windows that lined the front wall of the hotel. Ross had a fresh pot of coffee brewing in the dining area and we went to sit down. I was a bit surprised to see that there were other guests seated at a small table in the corner furthest from the lobby.  They appeared to be a family of three, all human. The man had light-brown hair and a slight, almost rickety, build. The woman, who I assumed was his wife, was pretty, yet plain with thick, black hair. Between the two sat a young boy, about ten or eleven. He rolled a small toy car along the table top.

“I take it they’re not from town?” I asked Ross as he set down two hot cups of coffee.

“Nope,” he said softly, keeping our conversation private. “That’s Tyler and Shannon and their son Allen. They lived in a remote area north of town. After the attacks and seeing some of the mutated creatures on their land they didn’t feel safe all on their own. They came south looking for others and settled here. Shannon’s a good cook and helps with meals. Tyler’s pretty weak -- the result of a gas attack he tells me -- but he helps where he can. He has certain . . . uh . . . abilities that are particularly useful in keeping the actual building clean and painted.”

I took note of Ross’ circumvention of Tyler’s “abilities,” but chose not to ask anything further. There was probably a reason our host wasn’t forthcoming.  

“So, are you two looking to settle down or just passing through?” Ross asked, shifting the conversation to us.

“We're heading west. I’m hoping to find my family,” Nate explained. “But we’re in Mausdale specifically to help a friend. Sean Murphy. You know him? [Does he? (bad) Yes]

“I’ve met him once or twice over at Verna’s. If I recall, she and Gene bought a lot of produce from him.”

“That’s what she told us, as well. Anyway, his tractor’s on the fritz and he was hoping Jesse might be able to go out to his farm and take a look at it.”

“Why didn’t he come himself?”

“His wife and daughter took the car and headed west.” Ross’ eyebrows raised questioningly. “Long story, and I’m not sure it’s mine to tell. But that does bring us to another reason we’re here. He needs help and we were hoping to find his son Lucas and try to convince him to return home.”

“I can help you with Jesse,” Ross offered. “ In fact, I need to run down to the service center to pick up a few gallons of fuel. I can drive you down after dinner. Murphy’s son might be a bit more difficult. For starters, I have no idea who he is.”
[The offer to drive the pair to the service station is the result of the random event.  I drew the norse symbol  Jera again [Image: YBxXvPQ0cw9AiWCaGK36tJyiJd3zY5uNJIrosBKG...deBA=w2400] - which, among other things, is defined as having fruitful results and a removed roadblock.  In this case, I decided to remove the obstacle of having to wait till the rain stops to begin looking for people.]

“We heard he had a girlfriend in town,” I cut in. “Her name was Jaci?”

Ross thinks for a moment. “Jaci? Don’t think I know her.”

“Yes you do, Dad,” Dale chimed in, having just walked over to join the conversation. I had seen him doing busy work at the front desk, every now and then casting a quick glance my way. I guess he had finally built up the nerve to come over and talk. “They’re talking about Jacqueline Fox.”  Turning his attention more to Nate than myself, he explained, “I know Lucas. At least I knew him. I haven’t seen much of him since he broke up with Jaci.”

“Could you introduce us?” I asked. “She might know how we can find him.”

“I don’t know how helpful or willing she’ll be, but sure. I’ll introduce you tomorrow.”

“What about Alex Andrews or Ken Watkins?” Nate inquired further.

“You two ask a lot of questions,” Ross pointed out.

Nate smiled. “We’ve stumbled upon a lot since arriving in the area.”

“Alex and Ken hung out with me and some of my other friends,” Dale answered.  “Alex is a bit on the younger side for the group, but she was included due to her dating Ken.?”

“How much younger?” I pried.

“Ken is [21+d4] 24.  Alex is turning eighteen this summer.”

“And this was okay with Alex’s parents?” [(even) No.]

“Mother,” Dale corrected. “No, not at all. She kept wanting her to break it off, but Alex’s got an independent streak. Why are you interested in them?”

“We believe they might both be dead,” Nate stated bluntly. 

We gave the father and son the quick version. Nate wrapped it up by saying, “At least we are assuming Ken is dead. We didn’t actually see any signs of struggle or blood in the area where we found the radio, but can think of no other reason he would leave it.”

I run down some of our theories. However, when I mentioned the possibility that Ken may have been jealous of her seeing someone else, Dale stopped me.

“I doubt jealousy had anything to do with it. In fact, if anyone wanted out of the relationship it was Ken. He had his eyes on another hoop, yet never broke it off with Alex to avoid the confrontation. Instead, he thought if he just stopped showing any interest in Alex she would eventually stop hanging out with us. Of course, that never happened. My guess is she stuck with us because there weren’t many other people close to her age to hang out with.”

I exchanged a worried look with Nate. We had discussed the possibility that Ken might have done something drastic to end the relationship.

Dale surprised us with his next question. “Do you think there’s anything at the shack that might give you a clue?”

“Perhaps,” I responded curiously. “Why?”

“I have a map to it. It’s just hand-drawn with some landmarks and GPS coordinates. We partied out there once. Charlie knew about it and wrote down the directions.”

While the thought of checking out the cabin was intriguing, I felt we didn’t have the time at the moment, and frankly, there probably wasn’t much there that would tell us any more about what had happened. “Thanks, Dale. We’ll keep that in mind. But hopefully, we can figure this out while staying in town.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Shannon, the woman from the other family staying at the hotel, standing nearby.

“Mr. Thompson, I going to start dinner now,” she said in a meek voice.

“I’ve told you, Shannon, you don’t need my permission to cook,” Ross tells her with a smile. “You and your family are part of our family while you are here.”

Without acknowledging Ross’s words she continued talking about dinner. “I baked some bread this morning, and I believe we still have some leftover pork. Enough for everyone. I was thinking of using some of the sauce and making barbeque pork sandwiches.”

“That sounds great,” Dale affirmed and Shannon left for the kitchen. 

“Pork seems to be a hot menu item around here,” Nate commented, recalling the meal Sean had served them.

“You can say that. Pigs are easy to raise, can be cooked many ways, and their fat can be used for soap or grease. Very useful animals. Tell you what, let me see if I can reach Jesse on the short wave to let him know we’ll be coming down to see him in a few hours. In the meantime, you two have another cup of coffee and dinner will probably be ready in about thirty minutes.”

[Investigation update: For this scene, I consulted the GMA oracle to determine that Ross and Dale had useful information. The first draw was the Ace of Hearts, which indicated a surprise, in this case finding a map to the cabin. The redraw for the clue was the Ace of Diamonds, which indicated that jealousy was not a motive.]

Scene 2 [Tension Lvl:2]:

By the time the evening meal was over, the rains had rolled in. The wind wasn’t too bad, however, there were moments of downpours accompanied by lighting.  Had it not been for Ross' offer to drive us into town we would have had to wait until tomorrow. Nevertheless, despite waiting for a break in the rain, we were sufficiently drenched after loading the wheelbarrow full of carrots onto the back of the truck.

Old Valley Road toward the Mausdale Service Center was rather barren. Woods bordered both sides most of the way, however, we did pass a couple of houses as we neared our destination. If they were occupied, the residents were staying inside due to the rain. In a few short minutes we arrived at the service center. Across the street was the Mausdale Farm Supply which was dark and appeared closed. Those two buildings appeared to be the extent of Mausdale’s business district.

[Image: XgCWfHmIQnUScvTGbZ7D9Z-p0CibnRt90ggqv5Tk...xFow=w2400]
Mausdale Service Center

One of the service bays doors was open and Ross drove the truck inside to get us out of the rain. A grey hoop waited inside for us. He and Ross exchanged some greetings before Ross introduced him as Jesse. He seemed genuinely glad to meet us, even more so when we explained we were friends with Sean Murphy. His willingness to help Sean was unquestionable and he eagerly accepted the carrots as payment, lamenting over how long it had been since he had a good carrot from Murphy’s farm.  However, there was a problem.

“I doubt I have the parts on hand to fix his tractor,” Jesse cautioned. 

[Is Jesse willing to help? (Random odds=even) Yes
Will Jesse accept the carrots? (Alyssa will make a COM check against DC10 [Random]: 17+1MND+2COM=20  Easy Success
Does Jesse have the parts? (Bad) No.]

“Could you find them somewhere in Danville?” I asked, thinking about the larger city a couple of miles south, assuming they must have several auto and mechanic shops.

He gave me a look that was a bit hard for me to interpret, rabbit-face and all. “Possibly, but we don’t deal with Danville. More to the point, Danville doesn’t deal with us. Seems they don’t like six-foot-tall talking rabbits.”

“But they know you’re just victims? Right?”

“Oh yeah! In fact, they had their fair share of bombs dropped on them as well. Hit ‘em pretty bad in fact from what I’ve heard. But they didn’t get gassed and they’re still human. I don’t know if we make ‘em uncomfortable or they think the gas did more than just affect our appearance. Turned us into monsters, or perhaps spies for Tech-West. Most likely, it’s plain and simple prejudice. We’re just different from them.

“Anyway. They don’t come around here. They’ve warned us to stay away from them . . . sometimes violently. And that’s how we get along,” he said, throwing air quotes around the words “get along” with his paws.

“So Sean’s outta luck?” I asked resignedly.

“Not necessarily,” Jesse replied. “There’s that WAmazon Distribution Center several miles west of here, the one located along the Susquehanna River. It’s a good bet you might find the parts there, assuming it hasn’t been completely looted.”

While taking yet another detour wasn’t on the top of my list of things to do, I felt it was an option worth exploring. “I knew that was nearby but I never knew where it was exactly. Could you give us directions?”

“I can do you one better. There are a couple of locals, Charlotte and Sebastian, who are planning a supply run to the warehouse tomorrow. They’ve scouted it out before, but this will be their first real scavenging attempt. I’ll call them on the radio and see if they’re willing to take you with them.”

Meanwhile, Nate helped Ross fill a couple of gas cans from a large storage tank on the side of the building. As they stepped out in the light rain, Nate noticed the same black coating on the service center’s door handles.

“I saw this same coating back at the hotel,” Nate pointed out. “I’ve never seen it before. What is it?”

“It’s a liquid latex, or something like that,” Ross explained. “Jesse had several cans of the stuff. After we were turned into hoops we discovered that anything metal that we touched with the palm of our hands turned to rubber. That’s why we often wear gloves.” He lifts one paw and waves it, showing off the modified leather glove.

Nate remembered Sean telling us about this strange side-effect of his son’s transformation. In fact, it was one of the reasons Lucas left to live in Mausdale. He was more of a hindrance on the farm than a help. 

“No matter how careful we are, however,” Ross continued, “We sometimes forget and grab something made out of metal. The latex forms a barrier. Handles are the most likely thing to be touched, so covering them seemed like a good idea.”

Ross finished filling the first can and took the second from Nate.

“Tank’s getting low. I’ll tell Jesse, though I’m sure he’s aware.”

“Can he restock?” Nate asked.

“We have some people who will go and scout out any gas stations in the area for any remaining fuel. Lately, however, they have had to travel further and further. Soon, they might be using more gas on these trips than they can find.”

“What then? Is there a plan?”

[Is anyone trying to find a solution to the fuel issue? (even) Yes, and . . .   What type of fuel are they experimenting with?   Heroic/Superstition]

“Possibly. There is an old army vet in town who was a fuel engineer in the service. He knows a lot about manufacturing synthetic fuel and is certain he can build the necessary machinery, something he jokingly refers to as a ‘micro-refinery’. However, getting the necessary chemicals would be difficult.

“Fortunately, his tour of duty began back in the ‘30s when natural petroleum was still in wide use and he’s pretty certain he can adapt newer engines to work with the older fuel, though probably at reduced efficiency. But once again, finding crude oil is a problem. However, he has a plan for that as well. His commanding officer was from Pennsylvania and would tell stories about his family’s delvings in the oil industry. Supposedly, they owned a plot of land in the Little Mountain area, a little less than thirty miles northwest of here. Around the turn of the century they found oil under the plot and constructed a small, but productive oil well. Our local hero was never able to confirm the story, but he says he has no reason not to believe his C.O.. Furthermore, he thinks he has enough information to find the land. It’s a long shot, and even if he does find it there’s no guarantee the well still works, or that the family, if they still live there, will let him use it.”

“It doesn’t hurt to dream,” Nate philosophied.

“No, it doesn’t,” Ross agreed.

Nate picked up one of the filled cans and the two of them headed back to the truck.

I filled Nate in on the trip to the WAmazon warehouse when he came back in. Jesse ended up taking about half the carrots for himself and his family.  For the rest of the payment, he accepted our willingness to go on the supply run. That left us with the remainder of the carrots to split between the Thompsons and the Stokes. Jesse contacted Charlotte to confirm a meeting time and with that worked out we thanked him and drove back to the Best Western.

[Other oracle questions asked during this scene:

Is there any chance Jesse has anything to offer about the Alex/Ken situation? (Very doubtful, so I’ll do Bad with disadvantage) Yes or No, so No is the worse outcome.

Are there any members of the hoop patrol Alyssa and Nate met in the vicinity?  (Even) No. (do you have any idea how much I thought about this possible encounter?)

Does Jesse have a family? (Good) Yes.  Kids? (Even) Yes. How many? 1-3:one  4-5: two  6: three  Roll: 6 = three  Ages d20: 4, 5, 10

With a night in the hotel ahead I thought it would be a good time to handle experience and healing.

For experience over the past couple of days, the PCs were somewhere between what OmegaLite defines as Weaksause Adventuring (poke around a bit but avoid most encounters, 5xp) and Standard Adventuring (full exploration, interaction with others, combat, etc. 20xp), so I will give them 10xp each.  Alyssa 25xp   Nate 40 xp  This will allow Nate to advance to level 3, which I feel is fair since he’s been exploring longer than Alyssa.

At level 3, Nate gets to raise one Stat. That will be his Dex, giving him 9 and raising his modifier from -1 to 0 (this also raises his AC by 1).  His HP goes up by 10 ([d6]5x2). His skills now stand at:
Physical and Tech (Primary) +5
Subterfuge, Knowledge, Communications, Survival  +2

Each character raises 2xLevel HP for the night’s rest. Do they have a healing kit at the hotel? (Good) Yes, but . . .  it’s low on supplies and since Nate is almost healed on his own, Ross feels it’s best to keep it for an emergency.]

Scene 3 [Tension Lvl:3]:

For the third day in a row, we woke up to overcast skies. Unlike yesterday when we left the farm, the rain had not completely stopped. However, it had cut back to a mist with a light drizzle here and there. Leaving most of our possessions in the room and only packing our weapons and a few medical supplies we left on foot for the service center. Ross didn’t offer to drive us and Nate and I agreed the night before that we were not going to ask. We knew he had a list of chores to get done around the hotel and we didn’t want him to use precious gas on us. The only other thing we did was to ask Dale for a raincheck on our meeting with Jaci.

Like the night before, the roads were empty and the trip was uneventful.

Except for the dog, that is.  

[two encounter rolls were made for the trip, one indicated an encounter. Since I don’t have a table for encounters in town, I decided to draw a description. Frightfully/Active]

I heard a rustle in the brush off to our left just before a large german shepherd dashed out and headed for us. Quickly, I raised my spiked crowbar and made a swipe to scare it off. The animal slowed just enough to avoid the swing, but was not deterred. The beast lunged forward, teeth bared. I stepped aside and brought the bar down on the back of its neck. With a whine, it landed on the ground and did not move. Only then did I see Nate had his sonic rifle drawn.

“Is it dead?” he asked.

I could not see any chest movements which might indicate breathing. Cautiously, I knelt next to the shepherd and put a hand on its side. It felt still. I considered feeling in front of his snout for breath, but realized the stupidity of that should the dog still be alive. 

“I think it’s dead.” 

“It has a collar," Nate pointed out.

Crap! I didn’t notice that. I hope this wasn’t someone’s pet. Killing the family dog is not a great way to make new friends. I looked around to see if anyone noticed us. Down the road, I saw a couple of houses, but no activity. 

“Maybe it’s best if we keep quiet about this. Help me move him off the road.” 

Nate and I lifted the dog and dropped him several feet into the woods. For extra precaution, I covered him with some leaves and twigs. Then, taking another look to be sure no one could see us, we exited the woods and continued down the road to the service center.

[Alyssa failed a DC15 Survival check to scare off the dog. She won initiative, hit the dog on her first swing and did enough damage to lower its HP to 0. Is the dog breathing? (even) No. Does the dog have a collar? (even) Yes.]

I have no idea what Nate and I were expecting to see when we arrived, but it certainly wasn’t what we found. Parked in front of the service station was a vehicle that looked straight out of a post-apocalyptic movie. Under the circumstances, that was probably appropriate. It was a large van or utility vehicle, possibly military from the look of it. It sat high on four oversized tires and every inch was covered in a mish-mash of metal siding and steel plates. Wire mesh and metal grating covered the front windshield and headlights. Strapped to the top of the monstrosity was a 50-gallon drum and behind it a large, flat piece of metal, its purpose I could only guess at.

Standing next to the cobbled-together tank stood two hoops. One was brown and white and a little pudgy. The other was solid black and much thinner. 

“Well, you must be our passengers!” the brown hoop announced excitedly as she strode toward us, gloved hand outstretched. “I’m Charlotte,” she said, shaking our hands, “Andover there is Sebastian.” The black hoop gave us a half-hearty wave. “We were thrilled when we got the call from Jesse that we were gonna have some help on this mission.”

“I guess that’s our ride?” Nate said, nodding toward the armored vehicle.

“Hon, that ain’t just a ride. That’s the Armor Plated Turbo-Boosted Omega-Dillo!” Charlotte explained as she walked around the truck, pointing out its various features. The whole time Sebastian kept his head down and gently shook it in embarrassment.

[Image: tqsvAegM8aicS7kRhmOUHlR3pO4HiX4sN49iwVym...y0FA=w2400]
The Armor Plated Turbo-Boosted Omega-Dillo

“This beauty here is the baddest, most-feared vehicle you will find in these here parts. Its armor plating is so strong it’ll stop a charging poddog. It has steel-reinforced tires that can traverse any terrain. The solar panel on top runs all the electrical systems . . .” So that’s what that plate is. “. . . And it’s powered by a self-charging hybrid ‘Kenny’ engine with synthetic-fuel boosters for extra power when needed. Speaking of fuel, we can carry up to 60 extra gallons of fuel between the tank on top and the cans on back. Useful for those gas runs. Yep! The Omega-Dillo will get us there and back. Guaranteed!”

“I apologize for her enthusiasm,” Sebastian said, having stepped over to us to get out of his partner’s way while she showed off her pride and joy. “It’s just an S-Class military utility vehicle with scrap metal bolted to the sides. It was on display over at the National Guard Recruitment center and was mainly there to build interest in joining the army. Charlotte kinda borrowed it before the MSF took over the building.”

“Stop being so boring, Sebastian,” Charlotte scolded. “You know your riding around in her makes you feel more like a young buck. Now, c’mon let’s go.”
[In the process of rolling up specifics for Charlotte and Sebastian, an oracle check resulted in a special event. For the event I drew the Norse symbol Tiwaz [Image: kuEfXr_MDMZOnyq-M5Y5JIpFZ1PVjvi4FJoKcXlI...mg2w=w2400]. One of the interpretations of this symbol is “a just authority gets involved, or the characters are granted authority,” which leads to the following encounter.]

As we were climbing into Charlotte’s Omega-Dillo, a small electric car pulled up to the service center. It had a rack of lights on its roof and markings identifying it as originally some kind of police vehicle. However, the original emblem had been painted over in red letters reading “MSF.” A grey hoop steps out.

“Hello, Clint,” Jesse greeted the man. “What brings you down here early this morning?”

“Morning, Jesse.  I reckon it’s these two,” Clint explains, nodding in our direction. “I got a call from Phyllis about two strangers walking down Old Valley School Road.”

My heart sunk. Did someone see our encounter with the dog after all? 

“That’s Allyssa and Nate,” the mechanic introduced us. “Ross drove them down last night. They’re friends of Sean Murphy’s. In fact, they were just about to go with Charlotte and Sebastion on a supply run to the WAmazon warehouse.”

The grey hoop sauntered over to us and stuck out his hand. “Clint Morrow. I run the Mausdale Security Force.”

Nate takes his hand and gives it a shake. “Nathan Collier. Verna’s told us some nice things about you.”

“Oh! You know Verna Stokes as well? You two certainly get around.”

I relaxed, pretty sure he wasn’t there about the dog, or else he would have said something by now. “We met some of your force on the way into town. Kelli. Ernie. A couple of others.”

“You're those strangers!” Clint remarks, eyes rising in understanding. “Kelli told me about you.”

“Did she tell you she tried to run us off?”

“Yeah, she did. Sorry about that. She thinks she Mausdale’s guardian angel or something. Gave her a talking-to about that. Listen, don’t you worry about her. If Ross and Jesse can vouch for you, you must be good people. Risking your lives on a supply run sure doesn’t hurt, either.”

“It’s not totally altruistic,” Nate admits. “We’re getting stuff for Jesse so he can fix Murphy’s tractor.”

“Still, it shows character.  If any of my crew gives you any more trouble, you have them speak with me.”

Clint is about to leave when Nate asks one last question.

“Mr. Morrow, I don’t have time to get into it right now, but Alyssa and I are concerned about two of your town members. We believe some harm came to both of them and we are investigating what happened. Would you have time to talk with us when we get back?”

“The MSF is more of a peacekeeping force, not a team of investigators. Unless there is an incident going on or reason to believe something is about to happen, there’s really not much I think I have to offer. Now, if you turn up something that might cause trouble in the future, then maybe we can talk.”

I found it odd that Clint seemed rather uninterested in what had happened, or to whom, but without another word, the head of the Mausdale Security Force climbed back in his car and drove off. 

[Does Clint agree to talk to them about Alex when they return? (Even) No.]


ImageSource 1: Google Streetmaps;   ImageSource 2

Proverbs 26:17

System: OmegaLite20
Tools:  Gamemaster’s Apprentice Deck; Abandoned Warehouse Hex Flower


A large portion of this post occurs within a warehouse. To simulate the search of the warehouse I will be using a homebrew tool based on Goblins Henchman’s Hex Flower Concept that I have entitled the Abandoned Warehouse Hex Flower.  The tool uses a hexagonal grid. Each hex indicates what is discovered as you move from one area of the warehouse to the next and movement is determined by rolling against a 2d6 key. Some of the things the character will encounter are security cameras and robots, shelves with products, halls, and offices. I will explain more details about the tool throughout the narrative, but you can download the full tool and instructions using the link above.

[Image: _MGe8V-C_2geip1__GwFtMfNsCFagRJGHztmMFUJ...2PUA=w2400]

Scene 1 [Tension Lvl:2]

Sebastian drove the Omega-Dillo and Charlotte sat in the passenger seat as we headed toward the WAmazon Distribution Warehouse. Nate and I sat behind them. We had one stop to make at a gas station he wanted to check out for fuel, but in the meantime, I pressed our new long-eared friends for information about themselves.

“So, are you married? Dating?”

“Hell, no!” Charlotte scoffed. “Before all this, we didn’t even talk. I’m nearly thirty years older than him and worked in road construction. Sebastian was a clerk at a hardware store.”

“Department manager at the Tool Depot in Dansville,” Sebastian clarified.

“Whatever. The only thing we had in common was the Suds & Such. My coworkers and I would go there after a shift to drink some beers and shoot some darts. Seb would sit in a corner with the college crowd, get drunk, and hit on Cindy, the Sud’s cute serving girl.”

Sebastian sighed. “We did more than that.”

“Sure you did, Hon. Sure you did,” assented, though not very convincingly.  “Then the bombs were dropped and lines were blurred. It was a matter of survival. Everyone worked together for the good of the town. At least at first. It didn’t take long for Sebastian and me to learn we both had a heart for scavaging. So we teamed up, acquired this fine vehicle here, and started our own Search and Salvage operation.

“So to answer your question, Alyssa. No, we weren’t a ‘thing’. Still, once you’re all covered in fur, who the flip cares? Just about anything goes. Doesn’t it, Seb?”

Charlotte punctuated her remark with a gentle punch to Sebastian’s shoulder, the black-furred hoop just shook his head in embarrassment.

“Oh thank goodness! We’re here!” Sebastian cried out when he spotted the abandoned gas station, relieved to be ending the current conversation.

The place appeared to be locally owned and not associated with any of the big chains. It had four pumps and a small store. Charlotte and Sebastian completely ignored the store. They claimed it was because we were heading for a super warehouse, but I suspect the broken-down door indicating the place has already been ransacked played a big part in that decision.

Their main purpose was to check the underground tanks for any remaining fuel. However, Sebastian’s hopes were dashed when he saw the locks on the lids were broke open. A quick check confirmed they had been drained dry. [Are the tanks locked down? (even) No   Is there still fuel in the tanks?  (Even) No]

Scene 2 [Tension Lvl:3]

Ten minutes later we were pulling up to the WAmazon warehouse. Instead of parking near the front door, Sebastian drove around the building until he spotted a particular side door. “This is the entrance we used last time we were here,” he explained. “I suspect there is a lot of security at the main entrance, so it’s best to avoid it.”

Turning around in her seat, Charlotte gave a brief explanation of what to expect. 

“All the power is still running inside. At least it was the first time we were here. I’m sure it’s hooked up so a solar generator. Makes sense as they would want power to operate and run security systems under any circumstances. What that means is it is a fully operational warehouse, including the security cameras and robots. You get caught on camera, a robot comes after you. It’s that simple. The few we saw were equipped with a claw for close-up combat and a laser for longer ranges. So we get in, do our shopping, and get out. We take out cameras as we see ‘em and possibly a robot or two.  Got it?”

We indicated we did and exited the van. Sebastian and Charlotte were each armed with a long lead pipe and a rifle. In addition, Charlotte carried a laser pistol sidearm. All of us carried empty sacks and backpacks which wouldn’t hold much and I wondered how many trips we would have to make in and out to get everything we needed. 

HP:19  AC:13  Init: +1
ATK: (Pipe [+3 to hit, 1d8+1 dmg]; Rifle [+3 to hit, 1d8 dmg];  Laser Pistol [+3 to hit,
         3d6 dmg]
Skills: +3  (+6 Communication)   Gear: healing kit, 1 extra power cell

HP:20  AC:13  Init: +1
ATK: (Pipe [+3 to hit, 1d8+1 dmg]; Rifle [+3 to hit, 1d8 dmg]
Skills: +3  (+6 Physical)   Gear: healing kit
As expected, the door was open and we slipped inside. I’ll admit, I was curious as to what we might find. My biggest concern was the security robots. What did they look like? Were they boxy or sleek, speedy or lumbering, fast or slow?  Turns out I didn’t have to wait long to find out. We took a step around the corner of a row of tall shelves and in the aisle between it and the next row stood a security robot.

[/font]The robot had a humanoid form, with a torso, head, two arms, and legs. While its chest, back, arms and legs were covered by white protective plating, the android’s wiring, gears, and joints could be seen through gaps between the plates. Its head was a mass of tubes and sensors dominated by a chrome cylinder that contained a single camera lens that rotated from side to side. As Charlotte explained in the van, one arm ended in a multi-pronged claw and the other in what certainly appeared to be the business end of a laser.  The thing glided across the floor as though the bottom of its feet were fitted with wheels. 

[Image: t0U06PMl2TPQOG2PUa-vsDlUCtllS0H9043JQKa7...S1Hg=w2400]
The Robot Had A Humanoid Form

Move 1 - Direction 5 - Security Robot, 50% chance of useful product

[Before the group can search for loot, they must deal with the security robot. At the start of exploration, there is a 100% chance that a robot will be encountered when you enter a robot hex. That chance decreases as robots are destroyed. PC’s can choose to attack or try to sneak by (DC15 Subterfuge check). I’m just going to handle being seen and sneaking by with a single roll checked against the PC with the worst sneak stats (Nathan, in this case). Failure means the robot engages in combat.]

The security bot spotted us immediately -- not a surprise as we made no attempt at caution -- and, before we could even pull out our weapons, had closed within melee distance. [Sneak: 8+2 subterfuge = 10 fail. Is the robot within melee distance? (even) Yes.]

Security Robot General Stats: 
AC: 15  HP: 3d8+15 (will roll for each encounter)  Init: +1  Weapon: Claw +6 (DMG: d6+4), Laser +3 (3d6)

This Robot: 28 HP

Initiative: Sebastian (19); Alyssa (15); Robot (9); Charlotte (6); Nathan (5)]

RD 1:

While we were fumbling with our weapons, the bot reached out with its claw and grabbed Sebastian’s arm, giving it a wicked twist before he could slip free. Nate was the only one in our group to get in a shot. Making sure the muzzle of his sonic rifle was in front of us, he let off a shot as soon as Sebastian was clear. The blast caught the mechanical monster in the side and spun him half was around. [S, A, and C missed. Robot targeted and hit S: 18+6=24 for 9 damage. N automatically hits with his sonic rifle (except on a roll of 1). Robot takes 7 dmg.]

RD 2:

Sebastian and Charlotte swung at the bot with their pipes, but the thing was fast and avoided their blows. I tried to reach into its wires with my crossbar, but all I found was armor plating. Unfortunately, in the frenzy, Charlotte took a strike in her side from the claw and stumbled back. [Rob: 8+6=14 hit for 6 damage] Nate remained close to the group to keep the spread of his sonic blast tight and waited for a shot that would only hit the robot and not us. He found that moment right after Charlotte fell back and the robot took a shot square in the chest. [Automatic hit for 11 damage]

RD 3:

To heck with this!” Sebastian exclaimed as tossed his pipe aside and swung his rifle around. “Alyssa, move!” I didn’t question him but backed off immediately giving him a clear shot. It appeared the shot hit but went through the exposed area of the neck, but I couldn’t be sure. [S hit for 1 damage]

Nate took the “clear-shot” opportunity as well and gave the robot another sonic blast. [8 damage. Robot at 2 hp.] While that staggered him, it didn’t keep his claw from connecting again with Charlotte. [9 damage. Charlotte is at 4hp]

RD 4: 

By now the security robot was severely damaged and I was ready to end this. Gripping the straight-end of my crowbar like a baseball bat, I swung and aimed for the head. The assembly spun half-way around, severing several of the wires and tubes. Sparks flew out as the machine gave one final “whir” and slumped to the floor. [3 damage]

Geez, Alyssa. I nearly shot you.” Sebastion had taken and second shot as I was moving in to strike. [miss] 

I never heard, felt, or saw the shot. “I guess it’s a good thing you missed.”

“I hate to be the one to say it,” Charlotte said as we patched up our wounds with the B.A. heal in our kits, “but if all the security robots are as tough as that one, this might be harder than we thought.”

“Now we know what to expect,” Nate offered. “Maybe we can be better prepared.” 

“We can start by being more observant when going around corners,” I offered.

[Healing Kits allow each character to bind 1d6 hps.  Charlotte regains 1hp and Sebastian regains 4]

A quick search through the odds and ends that were still on the shelves revealed nothing useful. [Product Check: 73 (target 50 or less)] 

“I guess that was to be expected,” Charlotte said disappointed. “Being so close to the door.”

“Hopefully we’ll find better stuff further in,” Sebastian said. 

While the others searched I took a moment to view my surroundings. Like most warehouses, the WAmazon distribution center appeared to be one big open room, at least where the product was stored. The ceiling was about 50’ high with long LED lights providing illumination (another sign the building was hooked up to solar generators). I couldn’t see far due to the high product shelves.  Each rack had four to five levels, depending on the spacing between each shelf, and the aisles between the towering racks were 15’ wide. While the floors were surprisingly clean, I did spot some evidence of previous battles on the vertical shelving support beams in the form of some caked blood and bits of what I assumed were flesh. My guess was that the facility had housekeeping units that kept the place tidy and picked up any trash on the floor, including bodies and blood spills. Perhaps they weren’t programmed for walls and shelves.

“Ready to move on, Alyssa?” Nate’s voice snapped me back to our current mission.

“Yeah. Let’s go.”

Move 2 - Direction 5 - Security Camera

Instead of heading toward the center of the warehouse, we backtracked to the wall end of the aisle to travel between the outer wall and the racks.  Sebastian led the party and when we got to the end of the shelves he put up a hand, signaling us to wait. He poked his head around the corner and scanned up and down for more robots. While he didn’t see any of those, he did notice a security camera mounted on the wall, rotating back and forth.

[When you enter a hex with a security camera, you have a 100% of encountering a camera at the start of the game.  As cameras are destroyed, that percentage drops. You have a couple of options with cameras. You can do nothing, be seen by them, and alert security robots. You can try to sneak past. Or you can try to disable the camera.

In this instance, Sebastian will attempt to shoot the camera with his rifle. First, he must make a successful sneak roll to avoid being seen. Regardless of the outcome, he then needs to make a successful range attack against A.C. 12.  A hit disables the camera. If he is seen while shooting, a check needs to be made to determine how many security robots arrive before the party can leave the area.]

The black hoop tried to stay out of view until the camera’s lens panned away. When it did, he stepped into the clear, aimed, and fired. The satisfied grin on his face told us he got it. [DC15 Sneak roll: 19+3=22   ATK: 9+3=12]

Move 3 - Direction 7 - 70% Product chance

Product check: 67 Success.

[Per the Hex Flower mechanics, if there is a specific item a group is searching for (in this case the repair parts for Sean’s tractor), there is a 5% chance that the found product is the found items. Each time product is found, that chance increases by 5% until the specific item is found.

If the found item is not the specific item, I will roll on a table to determine who might have an interest in the item (i.e. Hotel, Restaurant, Service station, PC’s, random item, etc.). If I roll “random item” on the previous table, I will be using randomicle.com to pick a random item from Amazon as inspiration.

Target product check: 36 - fail    Item roll: Random   Randomicle Pick: Sneakers]

We carefully rounded the corner, weapons drawn and ready for another security robot. Thankfully, the aisle was empty. Also thankfully, there were several boxes on the shelves. Each was a little over a foot long and half as wide. Sebastian pulled one off the shelf and peeked inside.

“Cool! We hit the jackpot!”

“What is it?” I asked eagerly. “Med-Packs? Power cells? Twinkies?”

He pulled out a grey sneaker with white highlights and a familiar swoosh down the side. “Nike Traction Pros!”

“Shoes? They won’t even fit on your feet.”

“Not just shoes,” he corrected. “Traction Pros. These were the hottest item before the war. Cost nearly $300 a pair. And no, you’re right, hoops can’t wear ‘em. But the humans do. And footwear is in high demand.”

“There’s a bunch here,” Charlotte noticed. “We should take as many as we can make space for, but that’s going to be a lot of trips back to the van.”

“What about that?” Nate asked, pointing at a contraption several feet down the aisle.

Basically, it looked like a big tub on wheels. It was about 5’ long, 3’ high, and 3’ plus high. On one end was a control box that housed its computer brain. Next to it was a retractable arm. Based on what I’d read, these bins are controlled from a master control center. They are told what to retrieve and then they traverse the warehouse and use its arm to grab items from the shelves.

“That’s perfect,” Sebastian said and walked over to retrieve it. He couldn’t get it to move, but that didn’t phase him. He just bent over, made some adjustments to release the wheels from the motorized controls, and then tried again. This time it rolled easily. We all helped tossing in boxes until it was nearly half full. 

[Is there a bin in the vicinity? (Bad, they should be in charging storage)  Yes]

“If we can find the control center, maybe I can hack the system,” Nate suggested. “Then we can just use the bins to collect the items we need.”

“Good idea,” Charlotte agreed. “Assuming the place isn’t guarded by an army of robots.”

 Move 4 - Direction 7 - Security Robot (Still 100% chance of encounter)

As we worked we made our way down the aisle. When we reached the end I volunteered to scout ahead. [Alyssa has the best subterfuge stats (+5 total), so it makes sense that she will scout ahead] Glancing around the corner I spotted a single security robot [30hp] heading our way. Luckily, it didn’t see me and that gave me an idea. I quickly told the others and suggested that Nate take the first shot before the rest of us jumped in to attack.

[Since Alyssa passed the sneak check, I gave the group surprise and the opportunity to make one attack unopposed.]

As soon as the robot came into view, Nate fired and caught the robot square in the cone of his blast. [11 DMG] The thing stopped and spun toward us. Immediately, the two hoops and I jumped in, pipes and crowbar swinging. Sebastian and I were first, inadvertently blocking Charlotte’s way. However, we both landed solid blows on the robot. One extra strike on its head with my crowbar and the battle was over. [After the surprise round, the robot only had 8hp. One additional hit by Alyssa for 11hp ended the battle before the robot could even attack.]

Move 5 - Direction 9 - Camera, 50% product chance

We hurriedly rolled the cart to the next aisle over, fully aware that we were exposed to several other aisles.  We turned the corner to get out of sight but failed to see the security camera hanging from the ceiling. Once we did, Sebastian fired a poorly aimed shot, hoping to take it out before it could alert any robots but missed. [failed sneak and ATK]

We’ve got company,” Nate called back to us. [100% chance of alerting 1-2 robots]

Two security robots glided toward us from two different directions. We retreated down the aisle to give us some protection on our sides before turning to face the approaching robots. [Robot A: 29hp  Robot B: 29hp]  We peppered them with sonic, rifle, and handgun fire, but they kept approaching, firing back with their lasers. Damn thing caught me in leg while another shot barely missed Charlotte. [Each robot took some damage. A was hit for 14 damage. I asked the oracle if each robot moved into melee range.]

The bot that targeted me stopped short, which really raised my ire. I really wanted to bash in its processors with my crowbar. Instead, I got to watch with satisfaction as Nate blasted it back with his sonic rifle. [13hp damage] Sensing the greater threat, the machine switched its aim to Nate and returned the fire. [hits Nate for 11hp]

Meanwhile, the other robot continued to roll toward the party. Sparks flew from some of its wiring as Charlotte shot at it with her rifle. [5hp damage] as I readied my crowbar. It might not be the robot who shot me, but that didn’t matter. As long as I could take my anger out on someone . . . or something. I swung. It countered with its claw. The blow knocked me aside, but not before I was able to put a big dent in its chest. [Robot took 3hp damage; A took 6 damage]

While Charlotte and I wrestled with the bot in our midst, Sebastian fired several rifle shots at the other enemy, missing each time. Finally, he gave up and pulled out his pipe to help us. This was fine, as Nate was handling that robot with ease. It appeared to be having trouble with its laser [Nat 1, Crit fail], leaving itself as an open target for Nate’s wide sonic cone. He hit with two blasts, the second sending the robot flying backward and separating its legs and arms from its torso. [Nate rolled a Nat 20 on his power cell check, so I counted it as a critical hit.]

Charlotte pulled out her own pipe and joined Sebastian and me bashing the last robot to bits. Despite their joining the battle, the bot continued to focus its attacks on me. First, it grabbed my arm after I hit it in the leg. Sebastian struck its arm, giving me a chance to get free. However, as I prepared to charge back in, the robot had the nerve to make a sneak attack with its laser arm, striking me in my right temple. 

Everything went dark.

[End of Chapter]

[Note: One of the oracle checks I made to determine if the robots moved into melee range resulted in a special event.  
Norse Symbol: Isaz[Image: 262DIRjOikrfSfIGMO9TaT4Q16ly8hZY8RRBKKNb..._hug=w2400]

Description: Ice/Frustration: Mental blocks; confusion needing to be unraveled; cannot progress until more knowledge is gained.
In-Game: A puzzle, riddle, or confusing situation casts doubt on what the next
step must be. A question must be answered, a guide must be found, or something similar.

I have some ideas of how to apply this later in the warehouse exploration.  Tension reset to 1 for the remainder of this scene.]

Imagesource1  Imagesource2   Imagesource3

Hosea 13:15b
Hey everyone. Just wanted to give a quick update.

I know I've been slow on posting updates. In fact, the last chapter was posted nearly two months ago.  While nothing earth-shaking has been going on, I have been rather busy with life, work, and other projects on which I work, including editing a parody music video my wife made for one of her work projects. In the background, however, I've been moving this story slowly along. I'm probably over halfway through playing the next chapter, so with any luck, I might be able to post again before the end of the month. Additionally, since it is October, it's time to revisit my Quill: Shadow & Ink series. Depending on how many letters it takes to finish the scenarios, I will probably start posting those around mid-October and time them to end on or close to Halloween. You can read those over in the "Unplugged" section of the forums, starting with this post.

Hope all is well with everyone. Hope to post again soon.
I'm catching up on reading and I came across where you wrote, "Nate philosophied." I was wondering if philosophied was a word you made up but I was surprised it was a real word. In fact it is perfectly cromulent.
Hey, good to know. The real story is that I most likely left out the "Z" (or "S" if you prefer) in "philosophized", but spell-check didn't pick it up since the other word was legit. Also, I was totally unaware of the "cromulent" reference, so your post led me to that interesting pop culture tidbit. Thanks.

System: OmegaLite20 
Tools: Gamemaster’s Apprentice Deck; Abandoned Warehouse Hex Flower 

Scene 1 [Tension Lvl:2]:

[Image: Xj3ps15bpb8JlfrFmkjkAW9EbuehyUOjU6lm_j6u...jmHw=w2400]

Damn, my head hurt!  And why did it feel like the world was spinning?

“Hey, guys! I think Alyssa is waking up.”

I opened my eyes to see a giant black rabbit looking down at me.

“Want a Hershey Bar?” The rabbit held out the familiar candy bar, its brown wrapper peeled back about a third of the way, one corner already bitten off.

None of it made sense. Was I Alyssa In Wonderland? I closed my eyes and shook my head to clear the cobwebs. When I opened them again a young bearded man was looking at me. Nate. I remembered his name was Nate.

And the rabbit wasn’t a rabbit. It was a hoop. Sebastian.

I took another look at the partially eaten candy bar. “Can’t chocolate kill a rabbit?” I asked groggily, but with a fair amount of snark.

“You’re thinking about dogs,” Sebastian replied unfazed. “Which gives me an idea. Hey, Charlotte. Maybe we should try leaving a box of these near that camp of arks west of town. If they find it and eat them . . . no more arks?”

It took me a moment to sort out what Sebastian was saying, but eventually, I recalled that “arks” were similar to hoops, except instead of rabbit-people they were dog-people. Just one more bit of surprisingly now-useful holo-vis science show trivia.

“That has to be about the dumbest idea you’ve had, Seb,” responded Charlotte, Sebastian’s brown and white hoop partner.

Sebastian’s face looked hurt . . . or did he have gas. It’s really hard to tell what a rabbit is thinking.

Slowly, I sat up with Nate’s help. Instead of the warehouse floor, the party was resting on one of the raised shelving units. Charlotte was peeking over the edge to spot any approaching security bots while trying to stay far enough back so as not to be easily seen. Nate explained that as soon as I was knocked unconscious by the security bot, Charlotte gave it a good whack with her pipe, permanently disabling it. He shot out the camera and the group lifted me onto the shelf, climbed up themselves, and tried to stay out of sight until they could apply some first aid and wait for me to recover.

[In the last episode, Alyssa took a hit that dropped her to -3 hit points. Charlotte immediately hit the bot for enough damage to end the battle. Omega Lite 20 appears to be very lenient regarding death. If a character is reduced to less than zero hit points they are unconscious, but not dead. Any damage below 0 is counted against their STR stat. Once a character takes enough damage to exceed their STR, they are pronounced dead. However, per the rules as written, there is no mechanic to reduce a character’s hit points except by damage from an attack. Unlike similar rule systems, PC’s in Omega Lite do not automatically bleed hit points while they are below 0. Therefore, unless an enemy targets an unconscious character that is not a threat or uses an Area of Attack weapon, the downed PC is almost certain to recover as long as one party member survives. To me, this seems a little OP and a bit unrealistic. To counter this I am planning on creating a “death table” like I’ve used in other games but, for now, I will be following the standard rules.

The last hex roll from the previous chapter stated there was 50% chance they would find useful items in this area. They made the successful roll and found a random item, which, per randomical.com turned out to be chocolate.

Alyssa gains 1 hp for regaining consciousness and 6 for a healing kit roll. Everyone else makes a healing kit roll as well. Per oracle, no security robots pass by while they wait.]

I was a bit beat up after that last battle, so we all agreed that it might be best if I try to avoid hand-to-hand combat for a while. I did have my pistol, but Charlotte offered me her rifle, as it was more powerful and we had more ammo for it than my own gun. She still had her laser pistol which, if we’re being honest, actually could do more damage than the weapon she gave to me. We climbed down and continued to search the warehouse.

For the next half hour or so, we wandered through the warehouse shooting out cameras, dispatching robots, and picking up product. The first bot we ran into after leaving our shelf put up a bit of a fight and Charlotte took a laser shot that knocked her unconscious.  After a few minutes rest and a healthy dose of B. A. Heal, she was fine and we continued.

As we encountered more cameras and bots we got into a rhythm and were able to take them down quickly, sometimes before the bots got close enough to attack with their claws. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Along the way, we filled our bin with various clothing items and small exercise equipment. Unfortunately, we still hadn’t stumbled across any fuel filters or vehicle parts and our healing supplies were being used up. In fact, we only had enough items left to form what might be considered a single kit.

[Quick summary of the next several warehouse moves made using the Abandoned Warehouse Hex Flower:

Move 6 - Direction 3 - Security Robot
Failed sneak check but PCs dispatch the robot in 2 rounds, but not before Charlotte is dropped to -6 hp. She survives, however.

Move 7 - Direction 6 - Security Camera
Nate takes it out without being seen.

Move 8 - Direction 6 - 70% Product
They find some clothes.

Move 9 - Direction 6 - Security Robot (only 75% chance of encounter due to the reduction in the total number of robots) They do see a robot, but are able to pass undetected.

Move 10 - Direction 4 - Camera and 50% product.
Camera is disabled but not before the group is seen. One robot arrives but is taken down in two rounds.

HEALING KITS: After healing the characters following this battle I began to think about the practical aspects of the healing kits. OmegaLite 20 rules state nothing about the number of uses of a healing kit. It just says that if you have a healing kit you can heal 1d6 after a battle. While it’s reasonable to expect that these kits can be replenished from time to time if a character has access to loose materials, it also can be assumed that they will run out if not replenished. Already in the warehouse they have healed several times without finding any additional medical equipment. So, I’m going to start making oracle checks for each kit to see if it is exhausted. It’s assumed that Sebastian and Charlotte each have a healing kit. The next two checks (Does the kit still have supplies?) will be at (even) odds, beyond that will be at (bad).  Three of the kits were depleted, leaving the group with only one.

Move 11 - Direction 11 - Security Robot (75% chance)  No robot.

Move 12 - Direction 11 - Camera (75% chance) No camera

Move 13 - Direction 6 - Camera (75% chance) and 50% product
There is a camera and it spots the group, but Nate is able to shoot it out. The robot that arrives is destroyed in 1 round.  No healing to conserve kit.  They find some exercise equipment. ]

“We really need to find first aid supplies,” Sebastian says. “Either that or leave and try again another day.”

“Nate and I don’t have time to wait,” I responded. “Let’s keep going.”

We had worked our way across the warehouse and were now approaching the wall opposite where we originally entered. At the end of the aisle we were currently traveling down was a metal door. Next to the door was a keypad, suggesting it was locked. Still, we had to try. I grabbed the handle and pulled. Yep, it was locked.

Move 14 - Direction 11 - Hallway

[In this case, it seemed likely that you would need to pass through a door to enter the hallway. At the end of the last chapter, I generated a special event that indicated there would be some type of puzzle or riddle blocking the party from advancing. I am resolving that event now with the keypad lock. Figuring WAmazon security would be tight, I drew a difficulty on the Gamemasters Apprentice Deck and added it to a base DC10 to hack. The result was DC19. Eeek!]

“Do we want to try to get through?” Nate asked.

“It would be nice to get out of this warehouse for a while,” Charlotte admits.

“Maybe we can get lucky and find the controls to shut down warehouse security,” I added.

Nate dug his tech kit out of his pack, removed a small buttoned box, and attached a few wires to the keypad. Several minutes pass.

“Any luck?” I ask.

“This security is tight. Not surprising since WAmazon is known to be a leader in adopting the latest and best technology. I’m afraid my descrambler might not be updated for this.”

“I thought you were a Net Security expert?”

“That’s my job.”

“Not very good at it, are you? I mean, you couldn’t even fix Sean’s old desktop unit.”

Nate continued to work on the keypad, but his voice grew agitated. “I explained, it was old tech and I didn’t have the right software with me.”

“That tech was too old. This tech is too new. Let me try!” I pushed him aside and mashed four random numbers with my index finger.  Next, I tried my birthday: 0531. Nothing.

“Sebastian, what’s your street address?”

Confused but compliant he responded with 140 Thistle Way. I tried 1400 in vain.

“Charlotte, give me a random number between 1000 and 9999.”

“Uhh . . . 6892.”

No luck.

I step back. “Yeah, we’re not cracking this.”

“Uh, guys,” Charlotte called out. “We’ve got company!”

[Nate’s hack attempt resulted in a 10+5 Tech Skill = 15. Fail. Just for fun, I decided to give each character one chance to “brute force” the keypad, needing an unmodified 20 to succeed. All fail.

In the meantime, I made a 2-in-6 chance for a wandering security bot. Result was a 2. All PC’s passed a DC10 perception check to notice it coming from a distance.]

At the far end of the aisle we just came down, a single security bot glided in our direction, laser pointed and prepared to fire. (By the way, I checked a downed security earlier, and they do have retractable wheels on the bottom of their feet.) We pulled out our weapons but Charlotte already had her laser pistol honed in on her target. When the unit was halfway to us she fired, hitting the thing right in the groin. To be clear, the bots have no sensitive anatomy so I doubt her aim had anything to do with female aggression. What it did have in that area, however, was a gap between its chest and leg plates and Charlotte’s shot slid right in. The thing jerked suddenly to the right and careened into the shelves while white-blue currents snaked over its entire body, accompanied by a few sparks and wisps of smoke. [Charlotte Critically hit and robot critically missed.]

Nate and Sebastian continued to fire on the bot while it tried to correct itself. [Both hit, knocking the bot down to 2 hp. Does the bot move into melee range? (Even) No.] The bot moved back into the center of the aisle but stays put. Instead of coming closer, it raised its laser for another shot. Before it could fire, Charlotte gave it another blast with her pistol, sending the machine sprawling backward into a motionless heap.

“Take that ya giant piece of robo-crap!”

Okay, maybe Charlotte does have a bit of female aggression she needs to work out.

“Give me your crowbar,” Nate ordered and I complied.

Returning to the metal door, he jammed the curved end in between the door and the frame and began to pull.

“Be careful,” I said. “It took me a while to weld those spikes onto it. I don’t want to have to make another one.”

He relaxes. “That door’s not budging anyway. There must be something really important in there.”

“Perhaps,” Charlotte agreed, “But we’ve spent too much time here already. Let’s go.”  Without waiting for a response she moved on.

[Physical check for Nate to pry open the door.  DC15  7+2STR + 5 Physical skill = 14  Fail.  Per an oracle roll they decide to move on.]

Scene 2 [Tension Lvl:3]:

Move 15 - Direction 10 - Hallway w/Security Camera, which means another door to get through.

Charlotte wasn’t wandering aimlessly. Instead, she had noticed a set of double doors several feet further along the wall. Like the previous door, this one was locked with a keypad. Nate gave hacking it a shot, but still could not find the correct code. [Random DC15, however, Nate check was only 14]  Once again, he borrowed my crowbar (so help me if he breaks it) and tried prying the doors open. Sebastian helped and the two of them worked together. Perhaps it was the strength of two people or the fact they were pulling against two slightly moveable objects instead of one movable object and a solid wall, but this time the lock gave.  The door opened slightly before I pressed my palm against them to stop them. [DC15 strength test. 10 + 2 STR + 5 Physical + 1 Sebastian help = 18 Success]

Kneeling next to the doors I pull one open slightly and peered inside. I couldn’t see much, but it appeared to be a small antichamber, or hub, to several other doors. Just below the ceiling line, I saw the expected security camera. Unlike the others we have encountered that pan from side to side, this one appeared to be stationary, pointed permanently at this door. I hoped it hadn’t detected our attempts to break through and so far there were no signs of approaching bots. [DC20 not to trigger camera while prying the door open against Nate Subterfuge: 19+2=21]

After a brief discussion, we decided that I, from my low position, would throw the door open while Nate shoots the camera. With any luck, we can knock it out before it alerts security. I pushed. He shot. Pieces of camera showered down as we all quickly ran into the room and closed the door.

We all held our breaths as I tried to peek through the space between the two doors. I couldn’t see much more than light, but after about fifteen seconds I saw a shadow pass by. Listening closely, I could hear the faint whir of the robot's mechanics. We waited another minute and the bot did not try to open the door. We couldn't be sure it wasn’t just sitting on the other side waiting for us, but we at least felt comfortable enough to explore the other doors.

[The narrative here doesn’t exactly match the assumptions I made while actually playing the game, but Nate rolled a Nat 1 on his sneak check before shooting the camera, so it doesn’t really matter. Security was alerted. However, due to the reduced number of security bots there was only a 60% chance that one would arrive before the group could leave the area. The check was 68 and the group was able to get away.

At this point I put my GM hat on, determined some likely options for what might be behind these doors and made a random roll each time they opened a door, using each option only once.]

We assumed the door opposite the warehouse door led to the main business portion of the building: offices, reception, etc.. We decided to leave that to last and instead went through the door on the right. Remember that joke about the song from the twentieth century that everyone mishears the lyrics. The one that people thought said “There’s a bathroom on the right?” Well, in this instance it wasn’t much of a joke, as we found ourselves in a bathroom, and a pretty nice one at that.

The room was large and clean with grey tiled walls. To the right, as you entered, was a counter with long, white porcelain sinks. Each sink had enough faucets to accommodate four people. Mounted on the wall behind them were several counter-to-ceiling mirrors. Opposite the sinks was a row of privacy stalls. The stall closest to the entrance appeared a bit larger and I peeked in. Mounted on the wall were several urinals. I never quite understood urinals. Men can use a bowl at home. Why do they need a urinal in public? To me, they just seemed like a monopolization of space that could have been used for more unisex stalls. Equal inconvenience when crowded.

[Image: 25sP10nIQBXle3h1nJrqFsqJN_QmSuAjLs7Vjb3Q...8h-w=w2400]
We found ourselves in a bathroom

I started walking down the row of stalls, peering into each on the off chance there might be something useful inside. When I passed the third door I heard a sound like someone emptying a pitcher of water. I looked back and took a quick headcount. Charlotte. Sebastian. Where’s Nate? I looked at the door to the first stall.

“Nate! Are you taking a leak?”

“Yeah! I’ve been holding it for the past two aisles.”

Charlotte and Sebastian looked at me with . . . with . . . hell, I don’t know what kind of expressions they had. They just looked at me.

“I sorta have to go, too,” Sebastian said.

I looked at Charlotte. She nodded.

“Okay, everybody,” I gave in. “Five-minute potty break.”

Five minutes later everyone was done and back in the center of the bathroom. Sebastian was stuffing a trailing end of toilet paper into his sack.

“What?” he asked when I gave him a questioning look. “This stuff is priceless back in town. You don’t think I’m going to just leave it here.”

To be fair, he’s probably right. You might recall, my parents kept a well-stocked basement and Woodville was near several big stores and a shopping mall. I never had to struggle to find a roll of toilet paper. But I can imagine that in a town as small as Mausdale it wouldn't take too long to go through the supply, especially if they were cut off from Danville.

We scavenged the remaining rolls and left the room.

Scene 3 [Tension Lvl:4]

The next door we went through was the one across from the bathroom. After carefully peeking through to make sure there were no security cameras, we entered a roomy locker room. Like the bathroom, it was very clean and plain. There was little furniture other than some benches. The walls were lined with dual rows of white lockers. Each locker had a keypad. Just glancing aground, there appeared to be about 50 or so lockers.

[Image: JQIY-W0oaAX1NgJdxFbxPK2_m5n1eXmrOig5Bivj...le2Q=w2400]
We entered a roomy locker room

“These must be lockers for the warehouse employees,” Nate said. “And that must’ve been the main employee bathroom.”

“I wonder if there is anything left in the lockers,” mused Charlotte.

“There’s one way to find out,” Sebastian said and began pulling a few open. The first several were unlocked, but eventually, he came to one whose door would not budge.

“I can try to hack it,” Nate offered. “But I don’t know if we want to take the time trying to pick every lock in this room.

“Wait!” Sebastian said, holding up his gloved hand. “Charlotte, we’ve been so careful for so long we’ve forgotten what we can do.”

Charlotte twitched her whiskers while Sebastian removed the glove with his other hand. Then he pressed his bare paw-hand against the edge of the locker next to the keypad. After a second or two, the metal began to flex. He wiggled his fingers into the space between the door and the side of the locker and the gap easily grew wider. He pulled and the door came open.

His touch had turned the metal into rubber, just like Sean had told us.

“Wish you would have remembered that sooner,” Nate said. “It would have come in handy getting through those doors.”

“Sorry,” Sebastian apologized. “We are so careful as to not destroy everything we touch, I guess we just condition ourselves to forget we can.”

[To be fair, I totally forgot Hoops have this ability. I don’t fully understand why they do, but it’s in the rules. When I finally did remember, I had a similar reaction to what I wrote for Nate. This would have made getting through doors a lot easier.]

“Turning metal into rubber,” I chimed in. “Nice trick, but I prefer my own method.” I rammed the straight end of my crowbar into the gap near the lock on another locker and yanked hard. The lock broke and the door flew open. This crapped-up world we found ourselves in was really bringing out my aggressive side and I rather liked it. I always wanted to be a badass like the heroes in the action books I read. Now I had my chance. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it will get me into trouble someday, but for now I’ll go with it.

The hoops “melted” the doors and I pried them open until we had investigated every locker and scavenged their contents.

We found a rather random collection of items ranging from clothing (most notably a pair of boots that fit me perfectly) to grooming items, such as a small mirror. One of the oddest items was an empty propane bottle. Why would someone bring a propane bottle to work?

Probably the two most useful items we found were a gun scope and a bottle of pills. For all we knew, the scope was stolen from the warehouse (unlikely, due to all the security), but that didn’t concern us. Sebastian tried attaching it to his rifle and it fit. [Adds +2 to ranged rifle attacks] The pills, according to the label, were sustenance pills. Basically, one pill contained the amount of nutrition equal to a full day’s meals. They might not be as satisfying as a juicy hamburger, but they will keep you going when food is scarce. The bottle was nearly full and we agreed to divide them up once we were back in Mausdale.

[Total haul from the lockers: A jacket, Gun Scope, Orange Neutralizing Pigment (hair coloring), a small tool kit, a bottle of water, Boots (that fit Alyssa), empty propane bottle, fire extinguisher, calculator, small mirror, bottle of 99 sustenance pills, another pair of soft boots that fit no one in the party.

While checking to see if the soft boots fit anyone I drew a random event.

Norse symbol: Naudiz[Image: Fs0XI7JldGqsWKWupw5YQAAoeLMCVwrLvgmCCVY2...jacw=w2400]Partial GMA Description: Need/Distress - a trial or test, discovery that your almost-complete quest requires an extra step or backtracking.  I know what this will be if and when the appropriate moment arises.

Tension resets for the next scene.]

Matt. 6:19-21

Imagesource1; Imagesource2; Imagesource3; Imagesource4; Imagesource5

System: OmegaLite20
Tools: Gamemaster’s Apprentice Deck; Abandoned Warehouse Hex Flower 

Setup: For the hallways and offices portion of the Wamazon distribution center I will veer away from the Warehouse Hex Flower. Instead, I will use a combination of loose “office logic” and random tables. As the characters move through the halls, I will randomly determine some things such as the number and location of doors and changes in hallway direction. When the characters do pass through a door, I will roll on a random room table I made. Some rooms can be reused (such as an office) while others will only occur once (for instance, you would expect a theater to only have one ticket booth). Since there is a logical layout to an office, at any time I feel necessary I will put on my GM hat and veto, change, or outright direct any randomly determined information for the sake of some semblance of realism and storytelling. 

Background: Hello everyone. I know, it’s been a couple of months since my last post. I have one word of explanation: Holidays. It’s been a busy one this year. Anyway, I think a brief recap/update is in order before we get back to the story.

Alyssa and Nate have been sidetracked from their journey west to try and located Nate’s parents and are spending some time in Mausdale, PA, a small town that is approximately three-quarters hoop (large rabbit people) and one-quarter human. They, along with two hoops, Sebastian and Charlotte, have traveled to the nearby Wamazon Distribution Warehouse to search for parts to repair Sean Murphy’s (a farmer who was hospitable to Alyssa and Nate) tractor, as well as general goods and supplies for the town. The story picks up with the group about to head into the administrative/office section of the building.

One final thing, be sure to read my blurb regarding the chapter’s title at the post.

[Scene 1, Tension Lvl:1]

“My guess is this door leads to the offices,” said Nate as we stood at the doorway leading out of the hub between the locker room and bathroom.  I pushed the door open just enough to peek through and saw a sterile hallway illuminated by fluorescent lights.

“Get ready with your rifle,” I tell him. “I don’t see a camera, but I don’t have a great range of view either.”

Nate lifted the gun and gave me a nod. Staying low I pushed the door open and ducked out of the way. As it turned out, there was a camera . . . and it was pointed right at us!  Nate fired and the sonic blast of the weapon twisted and crushed the camera against the wall. [Ranodmly determined there was a security camera. Nate failed the sneak check (13) but destroyed the camera.]

“Did it see us?” Sebastian asked.

“Don’t know,” Nate answered, “but let’s not take any chances. Everyone, get ready!”

We assumed that any security robots would come from the warehouse and took up our positions accordingly. Since I was heavily injured, I stepped into the hall to use the wall as a shield. Sebastian did the same taking the space across the doorway from me. He leaned out just far enough to aim his rifle.  Nate and Charlotte hunkered down in opposite corners of the room and aimed their weapons.

In less than ten seconds a security robot, laser ready to fire, appeared. We hit it with everything we had . . . well, all except for me. Damn rifle jammed. [Nat 1] I ducked back in the hall and manually ejected the jammed shell. From the other room, I heard the high-pitched blast of the robot’s laser, followed by Nate’s single groan. One more pulse, the sound of bits of metal tinkling on the ground, followed by a crash. Then silence.

Reloaded, I leaned back into the door, ready to fire. The robot lay on the ground, sparks flying here and there. Stepping through the door, I saw Nate slumped in the corner. My first thought was concern, but he seemed fine, just a little shaken. [Battle was over by round 2. Nate dealt the final blow. The only damage incurred by the PCs was 10hp to Nate. For anyone keeping track, Sebastian has 30 shells remaining, Charlotte has 34 (rifle Alyssa is using).]

[Scene 2, Tension Lvl:2]

We took a few moments for Nate to recover fully before continuing to the hallway. To our right, the hall opened into what we believed was the lobby and the main entrance beyond it. To the left, the hallway continued, ending in a windowed door, a couple of doors exiting on either side.

“We’re not ready to leave yet,” I said, referring to the fact that the building’s exit was just steps away. “So my vote is to check out the other rooms.”

Everyone agreed. After a few steps, we realized that the door on the right side of the hall was not a room but the entrance to an elevator. [Is there a door in the north wall? (even, south wall borders locker room) Yes  1-4 chance it is an elevator to the second floor. Roll: 1] Sebastian pushed the button in the wall and the sliding doors opened. Nate poked his head in a looked around.

“Looks safe, but I’m not sure I’m ready to trust an unknown elevator.  There is only one floor listed on the panel.”

“Why don’t we finish one floor at a time?” Charlotte suggested.

“Sounds good,” Nate quickly agreed.

A little further down the hall, there was another door on the side from which we entered. [How many doors? d3-1=1  Randomly determined it was on the South wall (all compass directions are for mapping purposes only and do not necessarily reflect true geodetic orientations).] This was clearly a door to a room. I tried the door and found it locked, but it was an easy matter to pry it open with my crowbar. [Random room: office  Is the door locked (Bad) Yes.  The weak office door only needed a DC5 to force open and Alyssa rolled a 10 Physical skill check.]

The room was an office, but one that received little use. It had a couple of tables covered with some loose papers and pens accompanied by a few cheap chairs. There were no personal items or even a computer monitor.

“Workroom, I’m assuming,” Nate said.

We scanned the papers and found nothing useful.

[Unless otherwise noted, each room will potentially only have one useful item. Method of checking is each character will roll a search check (DC10) and, if any succeed, I will ask the oracle if there is anything worthwhile to find. For this room, ultimately the oracle determined there was nothing of any value.]

Back in the hallway, we approached the windowed door. I had no idea what function this door had in the overall design of this building, but it was there nevertheless. Even more confusing was the fact that the door didn’t even have a lock. Through the window, we could see the hallway continued and was further lined with more doors. Mounted high on the wall was another security camera.

“I don’t think we’re getting past this one.”

Sebastian sidled up next to me to take a look. “Do you think we can make it to one of those doors while the camera is turned away?”

“I doubt it. The camera is just on the other side of the door. I think it will spot us no matter what.” [DC20 to avoid detection]

“Let rush and shoot, like always,” Nate said, sonic rifle readied.

On “Ready, Go!” I threw the door open and let Nate by.  As always, the camera was no match for the rifle’s blast, but any hope of avoidance was quickly dashed as a wall panel slid open and a security bot rolled out. [Nate’s sneak check was 15. Does the bot come from the Warehouse? (even) No. Must mean it is already in the office section. However, another oracle draw determined the bot is outside of melee range.]

The narrowness of the hall limited our ability to take advantage of the situation. Nate already had his rifle ready and was able to shoot. [16hp damage] Charlotte drew her pistol but fired wide. Sebastian had stepped aside to let Nate through and was now at the back of the pack. He tried to line up a shot but was hit by the robot’s laser. [11hp damage]

[Does the robot move into melee? (even) Yes, but . . .  its claw isn’t working properly. Damage will be halved.]

The security bot charged forward and it was obvious that our guns would be too cumbersome for close fighting in the hall. Unfortunately, the robot was upon us before we could swap out our weapons. The dang thing ran right up on me and reached out to grab my arm, knocking my crowbar to the floor. [Alyssa rolled a Nat 1 attack] I tensed waiting for the claw to clench down on my wrist, but it never did. Still, its momentum was enough to push me back up against the wall. [3 hp of damage]

Nate smacked the thing on the head with his rock-sock [3 hp damage] as it took another swing at me. I was able to duck out of the way and made a lunge for my crowbar. [Everyone missed this round] I picked it up and spun in time to see the bot swing at me yet again. What did I do to piss it off? Nate’s the one that shot him. Why doesn’t it go after him? Anyway, I ducked out of way and the robot struck the wall hard enough to break his claw off completely. Score one for the wall! [Robot rolls a Natural 1. If he uses his laser arm as a club, it will be a straight D20 roll without bonuses and at half damage.]

While I was doing the death dance with Mr. Metal and Ugly, the others have been beating on it. The final combination began with Sebastian, who struck it with his pipe and tore off its chest plate, and ended with Nate smashing the exposed chest components with his homemade bludgeon. [Nat 20, No healing was performed]

[Rolls determined that there were no doors immediately beyond the hallway door. In the next section the Oracle confirmed that the hall continues straight and a random roll indicated one door in the north wall.]

A little ways down the hall, a door was set in the north wall. A quick check revealed it was unlocked. We found ourselves in another small, rather plain office. The walls were empty and a single desk with only a few random papers and other basic office paraphernalia sat opposite the door. On the desk was a computer with a flat-screen monitor.

The room appeared to be a temporary workspace, which it probably was. However, while sifting through some of the papers on the desk, Nate found some warehouse layouts with sections labeled in a grid pattern. [DC10 Knowledge check to recognize anything important: 18. Is there something important in the room? (Even) Yes]

“Maybe this was an office for interns or outside help,” he suggested. “It’s a long shot, but perhaps the last person who used this station was working on inventory or cataloging. If I can hack into this computer, perhaps I can locate where the automotive products are located.”

He pulled out a small box and inserted it into one of the computer’s ports. A few strokes on the keyboard and it was obvious that Nate had gained access. However, the frown on his face betrayed the fact that something was wrong.

“Damn! This is a dumb terminal.”

“Dumb?” Sebastian questioned.

“It’s a stand-alone unit. It is connected to a Net-based general storage folder, most likely for file sharing and transfer, but it does not have a direct connection to the warehouse’s system. I can have the master password book and still not be able to get any useful information from this terminal.  We need to find a computer that has direct access.”

“Why have a computer that’s not hooked into the system?” Sebastian asked.

“A safe place for outside consultants or temps to work on documents without giving them access to sensitive data?” Nate speculated. “A place for Johnny to do his homework when he’s stuck here on ‘Bring Your Kid To Work Day? Who knows?”

[Nate failed a DC12 Hacking check, but instead of a complete fail it made more sense that his character would be able to break through the password but not find anything.]

[Scene 3, Tension Lvl:3]

“There’s something blocking the door.  Sebastian, give me a hand.”

Nate was trying to open another door that was unlocked but not moving. After having no success with the computer terminal we left the previous office and continued down the hall to the next set of doors, one facing the other across the hall. The door on the left had a small window and, peering in, we could tell that it was a large lunchroom [mechanics revealed later]. Before checking that room out, though, we decided to try the other door first.

[Door locked? (even) No, but . . . It is blocked by something.
How difficult is the blockage to get past? Using the GMA difficulty check I determine it is a DC15 Physical Check.  Nate fails. 6+2STR+5 Physical=13.  Having Sebastian help gives advantage, basically another attempt.

What’s blocking the door? Maniacal Defense]

With the hoop helping Nate, the two of them slowly pushed the door open several inches. I peered between the two of them and saw what appeared to be a desk pressed up against the wall. A few more inches and I was able to squeeze through and climb over the desk, which allowed me to help by pulling from the other side. Soon we were all inside.

Looking around we were in yet another office. This one, however, was in quite some disarray, as the desk and other items had all been moved to block the door. Also, in the room was the person who barricaded the door. However, [1-M;2-F] she wouldn’t be moving anything anymore. She was lying on the ground dead.

[Image: HcvutXwyKiGy2UuPRfvf8FLjtLFN_lbft1Vwh_-l...3MRA=w2400]
She wouldn't be moving anything anymore

[Each character made a Knowledge check to determine if they could deduce the story behind this scene. DC10 success indicated partial understanding. DC15 full understanding. Two partial understandings would combine to equal a full understanding. A:15  N:11  S:22  C:1]

“Well this doesn’t make any sense,” Charlotte said. “Why would anyone lock themselves in a room just to starve to death?”

“Makes perfect sense if she was alone,” Sebastian explains. “She may have thought the place was abandoned and came in to scavenge. To her surprise, the security systems were still active.”

“It looks like the robots almost got her,” I said, noting the laser burns and claw gouges on her body.

“Obviously, she was able to get away,” Nate added. “Must’ve hid in here for protection and blocked the door to keep the bots out.”

“But why stay?” Charlotte insisted. “Once the robots stopped why not get out as fast as possible?”

“We did destroy the security cam that was just down the hall,” Sebastian reminded her. “Maybe she tried to leave but kept triggering the security system?”

“Or she was just too scared or hurt to move,” I said.

“Hey, good news. She has a lot of first aid supplies.” Nate pulls some bandages, ointments, and a can of B.A. Heal from a discarded backpack. Additionally, he found some ammunition for the rifle in the corner that none of us had previously noticed. [Health Kit? (even) Yes. How many uses? d6=3  Firearm? (even) Yes. Randomly determined a rifle with 13 (d20) shells.]

Nate pulled the last few items from the pack and held them up. His face was a mix of question and concern. In his hands, he held some diapers, a few cans of infant formula, and other supplies necessary for baby care. [The GMA has a random “belongings” section that I consulted for additional items the woman was carrying. The result was diapers, formula, infant nutrition supplements.]

“Oh, my!” Charlotte exclaimed in a whisper.

I looked back at the dead woman and saw no tell-tale belly bump. “She wasn’t pregnant.”

“Then she must have had a baby,” Sebastian assumed.

“Where is it?” Nate asked.

“She must have left it outside somewhere while she came in to search for supplies,” Sebastian suggested. “Maybe with someone she knew?”

“Then why didn’t they come in after her when she didn’t return,” I asked.

“You don’t think she left her baby all alone?” Charlotte asked, her sight never leaving the woman’s body.

“Maybe it wasn’t even her baby,” Nate tried to assure her. “She could have been carrying the supplies for someone else. Or perhaps she just was gathering items she thought might be worth something in trade. We’ll never know.”

“C’mon,” I said. “Let’s make a quick sweep of the room and get out of here.

A search through the various cabinets and drawers of the desk turned up a bottle of whiskey and a couple of baggies of pot and pills. I think we found someone’s hidden stash. [Successful search roll. What was found? Opportune Evil] We packed it all up and squeezed through the door to leave. Nate was testing the lunchroom door across the hall when I realized we had lost someone. I looked back into the office to see Charlotte still standing, staring at the dead woman. Her hand . . . paws . . . whatever, were folded in front of her and resting on her belly.

“You coming?” I asked.

“Oh, sorry!  Yes. I just . . . I just needed a moment. Let’s go.”

[Scene 4, Tension Lvl:4]

[During gameplay I asked the oracle if this was a breakroom. In addition to “Yes” it also indicated that an event would occur. The GMA Norse symbol was Ehwaz [Image: bgtyzvJvJlRAQ2M_aY1uO98WdZ-8U2ImVl2cTV1M...tzFg=w2400]  and the part of the description that I applied to this situation was “an already-ongoing partnership or relationship proves to be more successful than first imagined.”

Tension resets to 1]

The large breakroom gave us an opportunity to relax and reset. Another plus, a search of the cabinets revealed some much-needed medical supplies and food. [A few oracle rolls revealed that there were enough medical kits for 5 uses (2d6 healing) and some non-perishable food.] Nate opened a few cans of soup and began heating several bowls in the microwave. While they heated the rest of us tended to our wounds. [Used newfound kits.  After healing, each character had the following HP: A: 15  N: 23  S:13  C: 10]

“Lunch is served!” Nate called out, having placed four bowls of steaming chicken soup on the table and a couple of boxes of saltine crackers.

“Gourmet eating at its finest,” Sebastian snarked, picking up a spoon and attacking the soup.

Charlotte appeared to be avoiding her soup. Instead, she nibbled tentatively on the saltines. After finishing two she got up from the table.

“Excuse me,” she said and crossed the room to a garbage can located in one corner. A few seconds later we heard her vomit up her meager lunch.

Nate and I turned to Sebastian for an explanation and he returned an unknowing look.

“I’ll go check on her,” I said.

By the time I reached her had sat down and was taking deep breaths.

“Are you okay?”

“No.  I mean, Yes, I’m healthy. I’m not ill or anything. What’s wrong is that my body is doing exactly what it is supposed to.”

“You’re confusing me. What do you mean your body is doing . . . “

“I’m pregnant!” Charlotte cuts me off. “This has been going on for a couple of weeks so I took a test. Positive.”

Okay. This explained her awkward behavior after seeing the dead woman and the baby supplies.

“Sebastian?” I asked.

“Who else? I pretty much told you back in the van that we were . . . involved.”

“Does he know?”

“No! And don’t tell him. Not yet. I don’t need him getting all weird on me, especially while we’re on a mission.”

I did some quick calculations in my head. “Isn’t a little soon for morning sickness?”

“For a human, I’d say yeah,” she agreed. “But Seb and I ain’t exactly human, are we?”

I was no expert in rabbit biology but I did know their pregnancy cycle was rather short, at least compared to humans. “So you really have no idea how long this pregnancy will last.”

“Nope. They’re probably wondering what’s up with us. We should go back.”

[The pregnancy is the result of the “more successful relationship” event rolled at the beginning of this scene.]

Before the boys could ask, we brushed it off as a combination of the excitement of the day and feeling just a tad under the weather. Charlotte even suggested we look for some cold medicine when we get back in the warehouse. Now that she felt better, she was able to eat half of her soup.

The room had a second door on the wall that divided the breakroom from the rest of the warehouse. Nate really wanted to head back into the offices to find a computer that would let him access the warehouse’s inventory, claiming it would save time to pinpoint our search. Charlotte and I, however, were itching to get back to raiding the warehouse. Nate began to protest but changed his mind when he saw our determined stares.

The door was sealed with another keypad lock, but Sebastian laid his exposed palm against the door near the bolt, turning the door to rubber. It was an easy task to cut through the lock and exit the room.

[Image: kJO7teXNsJ02bI0dUZ4riUhcSSXrG1rZA4q4p0hd...v5Dw=w2400]

Office Map so far (obviously not to scale)

[Scene 5, Tension Lvl:2]

[We now return to the Warehouse Hex Flower for navigation. Move 16-failed product roll. Move 17-Camera space with a successful “No camera” roll.  Move 18: Robot and product chance.]

Our first order of business was to retrieve our bin from just outside the door that led to the locker room. We followed the wall back to that door, checking shelves with no success. After finding the bin we headed down an unexplored aisle.

As we walked, a security robot appeared from an intersecting aisle just few feet ahead of us. Luckily, it turned in the direction away from us. Instinctively, Nate lifted his rifle and shot, hitting it square in the back and causing it to jerk to the side. Before it could spin around Sebastian jumped at it and drove his pipe down on its head. [Goup rolled successfully for a sneak attack, which gave everyone a free attack. Nate hit for 17 and Seb for 3.  Robot is already down to 14 hp.]

We surrounded the target and attacked with pipes, crowbars, and rock-filled socks. The robot fought back targeting Charlotte who happened to be standing directly in front of it. Bits and pieces of armor and wire flew from the machine, but it was not enough to stop it before it raked its claw across Charlotte’s chest, ripping a large gash in her fur.

“Charlotte!” Sebastian immediately forgot about the battle as his partner fell to the floor. He dropped and covered her with his own body.

The robot, seeing an easy target, rolled forward to finish off Sebastian. However, Nate’s sock smashed into its head first and shattered its “eye” lens. The thing spun around aimlessly until Nate hit it with one final blow to the midsection.

[In Round 3, the Robot hit Charlotte and dropped her to -7 hp. Since the last time a character dropped below 0, I created a MicroLite 20 death table. Each round, a roll is made on the table to determine hit point lost due to bleed out (range: 0-3), with higher potential for hp loss the closer a character gets to reaching their strength limit. Additionally, when a character is first reduced to less than zero, a roll is made to determine if a serious (long-lasting or permanent) wound occurs. The further below zero they are, the more likely they are to have incurred a serious wound.  This roll is only made once when the character first drops below zero.

The rules don’t have a STR stat for Hoops, so based on some assumptions surrounding Charlotte’s various bonus, I felt a STR of 12 was appropriate. Being reduced to -7 gave her a 25% chance of having a serious wound.  She rolled 29, just missing]

Sebastian wasted no time pulling out bandages from the remaining medical kit and bandaging Charlotte up. When she was stable, Nate kept watch while I helped Sebastian lift the unconscious Charlotte up and gently lay her in the cart. Not even concerned about scavenging the shelves [failed 50% product roll: 85], we wheeled her back to the breakroom as fast as we could.

[d6 rounds to regain consciousness: 6]

While we waited for her to wake up, Sebastian applied some antibiotic ointment to her wounds and bound it up more securely. As he was finishing, Charlotte’s eye fluttered open and she began asking questions. Seb sushed her and gave her a quick recap before offering her painkillers and a bottle of water.

“She’s going to need time to recover,” I whispered to Nate in private.

“This gives us a chance to find a computer in the offices and hopefully find a product and location list.”

I could have said something snarky to Nate about him getting his way, but that would have implied he was glad this had happened and I knew that wasn’t true. Instead, I informed the others of our intention.

“Charlotte needs rest. In fact, we should probably get out here as fast as we can.”

“But your tractor parts,“ Charlotte protested in a weak voice before I stopped her with an upraised hand.

“Nate and I have a plan. While you two stay here, we’ll search the offices for another computer that is linked to the warehouse’s network. Hopefully, we can find out exactly where the motor supplies are kept so we can beeline directly there, grab our stuff, and get out.”

Nate and I went to leave through the hallway door.  Before stepping out, I turned back for one last piece of advice.

“By the way, while we’re gone, you two probably need to discuss your relationship. Just a thought.”

I closed the door behind us.

[End of Chapter]

Title Note:

The title of this chapter is an homage to the podcast “Mating Habits of the Modern Geek,” hosted by Kelley Hightower.  Now, I’ll admit, I have not listened to the “Mating Habits” podcast, but I do listen to Kelley on the highly entertaining “As the Dice Roll: Cautious Optimism” podcast, an actual play podcast that features a sci-fi campaign using the GURPS ruleset. If you are interested in actual plays, or Geek dating, you might want to consider these two podcasts.

Psalm 127:3

System: OmegaLite20
Tools: Gamemaster’s Apprentice Deck; Abandoned Warehouse Hex Flower

[Scene 1, Tension Lvl:3]

“What was all that ‘discuss your relationship’ talk about?” Nate asked once we started down the hall in search of a computer that could get us access to the warehouse’s inventory. He and I had just left Charlotte and Sebastian in the warehouse’s lunchroom. Charlotte was recovering from a nasty encounter with a security robot and Sebastian was staying behind to keep an eye on her.

“Charlotte’s pregnant,” I stated plainly.

“What do you mean she’s pregnant?” he asked shocked.

“I mean she’s going to have a baby. Or a litter. I don’t know. Not exactly sure how hoops work.”

“How do you kn . . . Oh. The sickness. So she told you?”

“Yes. And so far Sebastian doesn’t know. And Charlotte wanted to keep it that way. So, unless it’s obvious they’ve talked about this, I wouldn’t say anything to him.”

Up ahead, the hallway turned to the right. Before that, however, was a closed door on our right <per oracle roll>  Finding it unlocked, we stepped inside and was in yet another rather unused office. This one wasn’t even completely set up yet, as many of the items, such as the computer and flat monitor, were still in their original cartons. Nate just wanted to move on but I took a quick look around. All I found was the dried carcass of a dead mouse caught in a trap. <Alyssa made a successful search roll and the oracle confirmed a find. Per GMA: Feral Vault>

At the bend, the hallway continued to the right and a door stood to the left. Of course, we tried the door and found behind it a janitorial closet. While there were no computers, we took some time to search hoping to find some useful items. Nothing interested Nate, but I discovered several cans of light brown and red spray paint. Suddenly, I had a curious idea. I didn’t know if it would work but I threw serval cans in my pack just in case.

<Alyssa’s successful search roll turned up a “trick weapon”. What that means exactly will be revealed later.  Additionally, in the process of making several oracle rolls to determine what type of room this was, I triggered an event. The rune was Wunjo [Image: 4CCAp_foCNueseBbWzabQeXZUX9-_dEtFSAWyNPa...xIvw=w2400]which represents joy and happiness, pleasure, or a spiritual boon.  This will also be revealed later.>

We made our way from the closet to the next door. Finally, we found an office that actually looked like it had been occupied. Everything was set up, neat and clean, and personal items decorated the room.  Pictures and certificates hung on the walls. More pictures and knick-knacks adorned the desk and a bookshelf. What was very obvious in what had, up to now, been a rather quiet office hallway was a steady clacking. Looking around, I spotted the source of the noise. On the bookshelf was one of those desk toys that has a row of suspended steel balls. I think it’s called a Newton’s Cradle. When you pull back and release the ball on one end, the kinetic energy causes the ball on the opposite end to swing out and back. Theoretically, the two end balls swing back and forth perpetually until someone, or something, stops them. <A successful search of the room revealed something that was “Distractingly Eternal”.>

While I stood mesmerized, Nate plugged his little box into the computer and started working on hacking the password. <Nate will need to make a hacking check. The better he rolls, the more info he can get. DC5-Hacks password; DC10-Finds Map of warehouse; DC15-locates the automotive supplies.>

Clack -- Clack -- Clack

“I’m in,” he cries, jolting me back into the moment.

“You cracked the password? Can you find what we need?”

“Don’t know yet. It’ll take a few minutes to figure out how to navigate their network.”

Clack -- Clack -- Clack

“Okay, this is helpful.  I’ve found a map of the warehouse, but it just has areas labeled with vague product types.  What we really need is a database or specific product location spreadsheet.”

Clack -- Clack -- Clack

“Here it is! Let me search for filters . . . I think this is the one we need. It’s on shelf AA42.  Now all I need to do is find that on the map and . . . “

Clack -- Clack -- Clack

“Oh my goodness! Can you just shut that thing up!”

“But, I think this has been going since the building was deserted,” I said dumbfounded. “Wouldn’t stopping it now be sacrilegious or something?”

“Don’t be an idiot!” Nate shot back with uncharacteristic hostility.  “That has not been going for over a month. That girl we found in the other room must have started it.”

“I don’t know. I really believe it has been . . . “

My words were cut off by the sound of a framed desktop picture that Nate had flung across the room crashing into the Newton’s Cradle.

“Nate!” I yelled, bending down to pick up the tangled mess up off the floor.

A few more mouse clicks and Nate had found what we needed on the map. He stood up to leave while I was still trying to straighten out the balls and strings on the toy.

“C’mon. Let’s go!” He urged. I gave a couple more tugs on the hopelessly knotted strings before resignedly tossing the relic aside.

<Nate rolled a modified 20 for his hack check.  This had the following effects:
1. Nate can use the same password to log into any computer (at least for inventory/administrative reasons).
2. Party will be able to shift one hex to the left or right of the direction they roll on the Hexmap (to simulate knowing the layout of the warehouse).
3. Specific item find counter (on hexmap) is increased by 30%. (Not 100% because they might pass other useful items before reaching the filter, but they will find the filters faster.)>
[Image: fbocbGKE9NuRFQT9JiIrdGwpi6t1qc_LLnZWLB6k...24ew=w2400]
[Scene 2, Tension Lvl:2]

“I’m gonna be a father!”

When we got back to the breakroom, Nate was nearly bowled over by an excited Sebastian who practically hopped into his arms. Yes, I said hopped. Up till now, Charlotte and Sebastian, heck, practically all the hoops we’ve met so far have walked with a human gait. Sebastian’s current exultation, however, must have removed any inhibitions about embracing his rabbit nature and now he was hopping all over the place.

“I guess you told him?” I asked Charlotte who just nodded back.

Sebastian bounced my way and gave me a great, big hug. “Charlotte’s going to be a mother.  All is right with the world!”

“We’re in a war zone,” I reminded him.

“So? We still have children to raise. A little Sebastian, or a little Charlotte.”

“Or both,” I suggested.

“Oh! That’s right! She might have a litter. Even better!”

Out of Sebastian’s line of sight, Charlotte rolled her eyes. She was not thrilled at the thought of having a litter.

“What’s most important now is that we get Charlotte to safety,” Sebastian explained, calming down a bit. “What did you two find out?”

Nate told them about the search. To my disappointment, however, he left out any, mention of the Newton’s Cradle. I mean, that was the really amazing find, wasn’t it? He also discovered that the room behind the well-secured door we passed earlier was the security office, A fact he failed to mention to me.  He thought if we go back there we might be able to hack into the security system and disable the cameras and robots.  Sebastian was on-board with that. Anything that made the trek out of the warehouse safer for Charlotte was okay with him.

<Much of the previous scene was dictated by the earlier event that was drawn in the janitorial closet.  My original intent was to make some oracle draws/conversation rolls between Charlotte and Sebastian to determine if the pregnancy was discussed and what Sebastian’s reaction would be. However, since the event Rune indicated joy and happiness, it just made sense that it referred to Sebastian’s reaction.  What this means in game terms is that Sebastian will make decisions based on protecting Charlotte or in response to things that happen to her.>

About ten minutes later we are standing at the heavy door and Sebastian is running his bare paws over the lock area of the door. The door is thick and the rubberized area doesn’t fully penetrate, so it takes him several rounds of rubberizing, scraping, and rubberizing before he can pull the door open. <Sebastian had to make a Physical skill check to see how fast he could get the door open. The better the roll the faster it took and the fewer random encounter rolls needed to be made. They were able to make it through without any robots spotting them. However, there is a camera just beyond the door pointed right at it that will require a DC20 to destroy before attracting a robot.>

Behind the door was a short hallway and another door, basically a man-trap protecting the security room. More importantly, there was a security camera mounted just over the far wall that was focused on the door we just forced open. Nate was quick with his rifle, but no sonic beam blasted the camera to shreds.

“Damn!” he exclaimed.  “Dead cell.” <Nate failed the DC 20 check and rolled a Nat 1 on his attack, indicating a dead power cell.>

Acting fast, I pulled out my crowbar and ran at the camera. Reaching it easily, I shattered the lens into a billion pieces. Unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough to stop it from alerting the security robot <28hp> that was currently rolling toward us. Sebastian and Charlotte took shots at it <S hit for 1>, but the thing was more concerned about who destroyed the camera, as it ignored them and fired its laser at me, hitting me square in the chest and throwing me back into the door. <9 hp damage>.

I shook my head to clear the cobwebs and ran out of the hall into the warehouse where the robot had closed the gap and was now attacking the group with his claw. That was a good time to try my secret weapon. I pulled out one of my spray paint cans and tried to push my way through to the robot. As I did, Charlotte is hit hard <6 hp damage> and stumbled away from the battle.  I used the opening to aim and the mechanical eye and push the nozzle. The robot was moving in Charlotte’s direction and the paint sprayed harmlessly behind it. <Spray Paint required a Physical challenge based on DEX. DC12 = the paint hits for partial coverage (-2 to melee attacks, -4 ranged) DC16 = full coverage (same as partial, but with disadvantage)  Alyssa failed the check.>

Sebastian jumped in between the robot and Charlotte. “Stay away from her!” he yelled as he swung his pipe into its side. <6hp damage, plus a successful distraction roll to draw its attention away from Charlotte> The robot immediately responded with a swing of its own, hitting Sebastian right in the chest and doubling him over <10 hp damage>. While the robot’s focus was away from me I took another shot with the spray can. This time I hit it square in the “eye” <Phys Check=17>. I gave an extra long blast to make sure it was covered. Unfortunately, I failed to release the nozzle as I pulled the can away and ended up spraying Sebastian, who had recovered and stood up, directly in face. <S rolled a Nat 1 on the next turn, losing an attack>

The effect of the paint was about as good as we could have hoped for.  The robot, unable to see, just flailed about wildly with both its arms. I was concerned it might start shooting off its laser in random directions, but so far it held fire and just rolled aimlessly and flailed. This gave us a chance to back away safely. Charlotte took a couple of shots with her laser pistol, but the robot’s wild movements were too erratic for her to get a sure aim and she missed with both. Nate, however, had better luck. Having loaded a new power cell, he fired and caught the twirling machine in the wide cone of the rifle’s blast. Gears, wires, and other bits of metal and plastic flew from the machine until it finally slowed down and fell to the ground defeated. <12 hp damage>

“What the hell, Alyssa!? Are you trying to blind me!?” Sebastian was still rubbing his eyes, trying to get the paint out. “What was that anyway?”

“Spray paint?” I said. “It worked. The robot couldn’t see us.”

Having regained some semblance of sight, he glared at me. “And I couldn’t see it!  You could’ve got me killed!”

I know it was serious but, seeing a nearly six-foot-tall, black-furred bunnyman standing in front of me with a tear-streaked face covered in light-brown paint, it was all I could do to keep from laughing.

Quickly we all moved into the hall and closed the door behind us. It took Sebastian a few minutes more to disable the lock on the inner door and we were in the security room. Nate went right to work hacking the security camera while Sebastian, Charlotte, and I tended to our wounds. <Medical and healing kits were used. C: +9hp  A:+6hp  S:+4hp  Sebastian still has uses left in his healing kit>

[Image: zbQaCReAp955QiLTh02ZtvVKLbOaPlMwU7S1jPdP...tsoQ=w2400]
We were in the security room

“That was surprisingly easy,” Nate said from his spot in front of a wall of monitors.  “I’ve shut down all the cameras and robo . . . oh crap! I spoke too soon. They have some type of anti-tampering software loaded, of course. My hacks are being overturned and everything is live again. This is going to a bit more time.”

While Nate continued to work on the security I searched the room for anything useable. <A and S made successful searches. Is there anything to find? (even) Yes, and . . . it’s a pretty good haul.> In a cabinet I found two handguns. When I wsa sure the others weren’t looking, I stuffed them in my belt under my jacket. I wasn’t trying to necessarily hide them from our new friends. I just felt Nate and I’ve been doing a lot of the work since we’ve been in the warehouse and we deserved a little reward of our own. The easiest way to get that? Just take it and not tell anyone else. <There was a total of 25 bullets that will be split between Nate and Alyssa>

Meanwhile, Sebastian found a medical box with a lot of supplies <Med Kit (4 uses)>. I used some to patch up more of my wounds (+12hp) and suggested he do the same. He declined, choosing to save it in case Charlotte needed it later.

“It's not great news,” Nate told us, “But I’ve made some progress. Can’t shut down the robots, but I was able to disable the cameras. Not much, but it helps. That being said, I had to introduce a virus to confuse the camera system and the anti-virus is fighting against it.  The cameras could come back at any time so I suggest we try to find the parts as fast as we can.”

<Hacking the security system.  Initial Tech Check: DC5: locate cameras (+2 to sneak rolls) DC10: disarm camera or robots  DC15: disarm both.  Nate’s roll = 11  Random system: camera.

Next, I rolled another Tech Check  to see how effective the disarming was: DC1-10: 1d10 turns  DC11-15: 2d10 turns  DC16+: Permanent  Nates roll=8>

[Scene 3, Tension Lvl:3]

We left the security office and Nate suggested we stop at the distribution center’s control hub, since we would pass it on the way.  If he could hack into that, we could have the automated retrieval system just fetch the parts for us, as well anything else we might think of. Smart thinking, but yet another thing he discovered back in the offices that he failed to mention to me.

While we walked, I motioned to him to hold back.  Once the two hoops were in front of us, I passed him one of the handguns and some ammo. He gave me a questioning look.

“You’re not the only one with secrets,” I said and sped up, leaving him wondering what in the world I was talking about.

We arrived at the hub without encountering any security robots or cameras except for the one that was now overlooking the control area. It was stationary, suggesting it was still inoperable, but Nate had Sebastion shoot it out while he examined the hub controls. <A random event was indicated when I consulted the GMA for details of the area. That event will be revealed at the end of this chapter.>

The main computer system was located on a raised platform. It had several monitors, a few keyboards, and miscellaneous other computer equipment that meant nothing to me.  Near the platform were several bins ready to be dispatched to pull product. Just beyond them was a conveyor belt that disappeared into a rectangular cut out in the wall. I assume that was where the product was unloaded from the bins and placed on the moving conveyor to be sent to the packing area.  Near the opening in the wall was a door, which probably led to the said packing area.

[Image: 9Mree4w9XRhwFBd_FnK-ez_YgvNbkL5dFlGBgM1h...gZVA=w2400]
Nate at the Control Hub

With his previous experience with the Wamazon computer system, Nate quickly hacked into the system and navigated the retrieval program. He programmed a bin to pick up the fuel filters Jesse needed, as well as few additional mechanic’s tools that were located in the same area. <These were actually found during the hex rolls to get here, but it made more sense in the narrative for the group to not stop and pick up anything on the way but have the bins collect it for them.> The bin rolled away and the rest of us hunkered down behind the bins that remained, in case a security robot wandered by.

<It will take the bin (2d4) 6 turns to retrieve the items.  In the meantime, I will roll once per turn for wandering robots. 1-in-6 chance.>

“What was all that about secrets?” Nate asked me while we waited.

“You didn’t tell me about the security office. You didn’t tell me about this control hub. I thought we were a team?”

“You’re upset about that? You were more interested in that stupid toy than our mission.”

“What toy?” Sebastian asks.

“There was one of those perpetual ball machines in an office we explored. You know, the type that swing back and forth.”

“It was still going,” I broke in. “Since the office had been abandoned. It would have probably continued forever if Nate hadn’t thrown a picture at it.”

“It would not have kept going forever,” Nate argued, exasperated.

“We’ll never know now, will we? Destroyer of Eternity!”

Nate sighed.

“Where is that bin?” Charlotte asked. “Shouldn’t it have been back by now?”

“Let me check the computer and see where it is,” Nate said.

He stood up and headed for the platform. As he was climbing the steps he was suddenly hit by a laser blast which knocked him to the floor. <A positive encounter check. Robot 30hp. The group failed its Subterfuge check to successfully hide from the approaching robot.  Additionally, the cameras were only out of commission for 4 turns, so they are now live, as well.> Without hesitation, Nate rolls over, aims, and fires back at his attacker (7 hp), hitting it square in the chest.

It took the rest of us a moment to realize what was happening, but quickly we had our weapons ready and were poking our heads out to get a bead on the robot. Unfortunately, the other carts and raised podium kept us from getting a clear shot.  Nate, however, still had an open shot. (10 hp). But that also meant he made an easy target as well (hit for 11hp, down to 12 total).

As he scrambled to hide behind the bank of computers, the security bot switched its attention and began rolling toward those of us behind the bins. Charlotte hit it with shots as it approached (10hp). Instead of riding as well, I ducked back and readied my crowbar. As soon as the robot came around the corner of the bin I swung and took out its legs. The thing fell face down and I smashed the back of its head until it lay still. (5 hp, reducing it to -2)

“Nate!” I called out.  “You good?”

“I’m good.”

“Where’s that bin?”

“It’s still near the automotive products.  I think it’s stuck.  We’ll have to go to it.”

<Okay, do you remember way back at the end of chapter 8 when I drew a random event that I said I would hold until the appropriate time? Well, now is the time. The symbol was Naudiz [Image: 3rqfh8k5T5Xae6kI4qRuy1UI-infhvCsM12pG0aA...UEiA=w2400]and one of the explanations was "an almost-complete quest requires an extra step". My original plan was, should the group make a successful roll during the hex crawl to find the filters, I would consider that roll a fail and make them continue until they make a second successful roll. Narratively, I could see them coming across a different bunch of auto parts but not the filters. However, when they arrived at the control center, that would no longer work because they could program the bins to pick up the exact part. Therefore, the next option would be to obstruct the bin in some way to force the group to go to it instead.

How many turns to reach the bin? (d4) 3>

The trip to where the bin was stopped wasn’t too bad. We were able to take out another camera without alerting any robots and Charlotte pulled some card and board games from a shelf as we passed by.

<Move 23: Direction 7 - Room - The room is the previously described door. They walk past.

Move 24: Direction 9 - Hall and camera. Hall doesn’t make sense so I’ll just handle it as a 75% chance of camera. There is a camera and Nate makes his sneak roll.

Move 25: Direction 9 - 50% chance of robot and 50% product. No robot and the randomly generated product is a children’s card game.>

When we reached the cart it was obvious what the problem was. Wedged under one of its front wheels was a small box that must have been knocked off the shelf when it retrieved the filters and tools. We still had room in our original bin, so we transferred the new items to it. Sebastian saw a single air compressor and remembered Jesse needed a new one, so he grabbed that as well. Now that we had what we came for, it was time to leave.  <It will take (d6) 6 moves to get to the door through which they came in.>

[Scene 4, Tension Lvl:2]

We knew we were getting close to the exit when we began to see signs of our earlier passing: camera remnants hanging from the walls, shattered or disabled security robots lying on the floor. Sebastian led the group and was continuously looked back to check on Charlotte.  Was she doing okay? Did we need to slow down? While I think she enjoyed the attention at first, after about the third or fourth inquiry her responses started getting shorter and it seemed to me a bit irritated.

“Still fine. You don’t need to check on me every five seconds.”

“I just want to take care of our family,” Sebastian explained as Charlotte rolled her eyes. He had turned to face us and was practically walking backward.  “I think the exit is just down this next aisle.”

As soon as he faced back forward and reached the corner, a robotic arm reached out, grabbed him by the neck, and flung him into the shelving on the far side. He fell into a crumpled heap on the ground.

Damn! We were too comfortable. Too sure of ourselves.  We dropped our guard.

Charlotte jumped with a start and fumbled the pipe in her hand, dropping it to the ground. Nate pulled the trigger on his rifle, only to drain his last power cell (Nat 1). One of us down, the other two weaponless, we had to gain an advantage. For that, I grabbed my paint can and sprayed at the robot’s head. Luck was with me as I gave it a thick coat of brown paint across its eye lens.

<Robot has 21hp. Due to paint, attacks at -2 with disadvantage and defends at -2>

Just like the other robot I had sprayed, this one started to spin and flail out aimlessly with its arms. Nate switched to his weighted so and we had to be careful not to get within the robot’s attack. Still, we were able to get a shot in here and there. (Both hit for a total of 12 hp)  Charlotte retrieved her pipe and looked for an opening. It would have been better for her had she not because the moment she got close enough its arm hit her in the side and she went down. The robot must have sensed that he hit something because it stopped spinning and focused its grabs and swings in Charlotte’s direction. This made it much easier for Nate and I to approach it from behind and strike in its weak places, quickly disabling it.

Without hesitation, we tended to the unconscious hoops. Using supplies from the medkits, we helped them revive and get to their feet. Both were dazed and it was a good thing that Sebastian was correct when he believed the exit was just at the end of the aisle. Nate helped me lead both of them out the door and shut it behind us before slumping to the asphalt to rest against the Steel Plated Turbo-Thingy Omega-Dildo, or whatever this beast of a vehicle is called.

Nothing followed us out of the warehouse. No person, animal, or creature passed by. We just sat quietly for the next ten minutes, thankful to be out and alive.

After a bit, Sebastian stood up and brushed himself off.

“Enough rest,” he said. “Let’s get this stuff loaded and head on home.”

“Not yet.” We all turned to look at Charlotte who had a determined look on her face.

“What do you mean not yet,” Sebastian asked. “We need to get you home and safe.”

“No. That woman, dead in the warehouse. Her baby might be out here. We need to find it.”



Okay, there is a bit to unpack here regarding the end of this chapter.

First of all, what’s up with Charlotte?  Back when they reached the control hub I mentioned that I drew an event that would be revealed at the end of the chapter. Well, this is that event. The rune I drew was Raido [Image: nJlm53jLCus6W_EX8n_Pvd_oL9WxG4ZdJdRGZAov...iVuw=w2400]which GMA describes as” travel, evolution, moving forward, gaining perspective”. Some of the in-game suggestions are “a quest, a journey for the sake of some greater objective or learning an important secret”. As was hinted from her lingering at the dead woman’s body, Charlotte’s pregnancy has her thinking more deeply about motherhood and what that means.  Even though it is not her baby, she is developing this sense of protectiveness. Therefore, the event is that she feels obligated to take on the quest of finding the baby, either to save it or let those who are guarding it know what happened to the mother.

On another matter, I took the liberty of condensing the last several moves through the warehouse in the narrative to save time and keep the story more interesting. There were actually two robot encounters and several product searches. By now, however, I was getting tired of basically writing the same combat encounter over and over again (and you were probably getting tired of reading it) and I was ready to get out of the warehouse. So I included the products in the previous scene and used the highlights of both battles to form one final fight.  For those interested, the detailed moves are listed below.

Move 26: Direction 10 - Blank spot

Move 27: Direction 3 - Camera (that exists and triggers robot) and product chance.  The resulting battle knocked Charlotte to 0 hp and Sebastian to -3 hp.  Both survived. Also, it was in this battle that Nate used up his last power cell. The product was something Jesse asked for.  This was the air compressor that was acquired when they reached the stuck bin.

Move 28: Direction 6: Product that would benefit the service center. These were the additional tools that Nate programmed the bin to retrieve along with the filters.

Move 29: Direction 3 - 50% product chance that resulted in nothing.

Move 30: Direction 8  - 90% product.  Random-cables.

Move 31: 50% chance Robot/50% chance Product.  The group rolled a natural 1 on the sneak check, so the robot got a free attach, targeted Sebastian and reduced him to -2hp. In the end, the robot was destroyed and everyone survived.  No product was found.

Finally, my thoughts on the Abandonded Warehouse Hex Flower. As you may recall from the start of the warehouse adventure, this is a tool I created myself based on Goblin’s Henchman’s Hex Flower concept. This game was the playtest for the tool. For the most part, I am pleased with the result.  If I ever do revise it, the part that needs the most work is the hall/room mechanic. My original thought was that the additional hexes would determine movement from room to hall to room, etc.  In reality, this didn’t make much sense in the game and, as you know from reading this playthrough, once I entered an office area I ditched the hex flower and used other methods for creating the office map.  What I am considering doing with the warehouse tool is just use one “room” symbol and pepper it in a few hex across the flower. A player landing on one of those spaces would encounter a door exiting the warehouse and it is up to them to determine what the door leads to (hall, closet, office, etc) and how to run exploration beyond the door.  If you are interested in downloading and using my Abandoned Warehouse Hexflower tool you can find it here on DrivethruRPG.

Eph. 5:25-29
Hey, this is great. I spent a lot of time watching some videos about the tools you use.

I understand the difficulty of random mapping. I don't know if you saw this but it's my attempt at a generator and maybe it will help or be a launching pad for something better.

Thanks, as always, for the encouragement. To be honest, I wasn't aware there were videos for the tools I am using, though it should be expected. There are a lot of players that like to demonstrate their tools or tools they have used.

One of the main motivations for me to play solo and read other playthroughs that share "behind-the-scenes" mechanics is to learn about and try different game tools and rule systems. At this point, I have so many links to sites and have acquired so many games and other products that I'll never be able to use them all. Still, I find it fascinating to study them and consider the thinking that went into creating them.

I do believe when I began on this site and was looking through a lot of the instructional forums I did see your dungeon crawl mechanics. Taking another look at it now, it does look like a good system dungeon generation (It's very reminiscent of the playing card dungeon generation system I used in my first Roses & Wyght campaign). When I pick my Kage Gordain campaign back up again, I see some opportunity for a random dungeon crawl or two. I'll certainly consider trying your system when and if I get to that point. I will also be returning to RPGSolo as my main oracle for that particular adventure, as well. Now, when will I eventually get to it . . . that's another story. I have so much on my pipeline, some of which I will discuss in my next post to this thread that I'll make in the next couple of days

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